New law lets restaurants sell cocktails to go
Delivery fee cap dropped from final bill
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER on Monday signed a bill that will let restaurants sell alcoholic mixed drinks along with a takeout food order. Under the law, a customer over 21 can purchase up to 64 ounces of mixed drinks per transaction. The drink will be sold in a sealed container.
The law will apply until Feb. 28, 2021, or the end of the coronavirus state of emergency, whichever is later.
Bob Luz, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, called the ability to offer to-go cocktails another small bit of help for a devastated restaurant industry. “It is not a silver bullet, rather a ray of hope for the operators,” Luz said.
According to the Distilled Spirits Council, 30 other states and Washington, DC allow restaurants to offer cocktails to-go.
Restaurants had said they were losing money on delivery orders, since the apps that market and deliver the food were charging commissions of up to 30 percent.
The delivery services lobbied strongly against the cap, questioning its legality and arguing that it would require them to pay deliverers less, charge customers more, or cut the services they provide.Some cities and towns have been considering imposing their own caps, but the decision to leave the cap out of the final restaurant bill means no statewide cap will be imposed.
Luz said the delivery fee issue remains important, since outdoor dining will evaporate as an option when the weather turns cold this fall, and delivery will likely continue to be a significant portion of restaurant sales. Without a cap on these fees, Luz said more restaurants will be unable to survive the coronavirus pandemic.