AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Restaurant Association submitted a proposal to expand Gov. Greg Abbott’s alcohol-to-go waiver passed at the beginning of the economic closure to help restaurants survive.
“One of the early waivers we secured from the Governor was for alcohol to go, which really meant that you could pick up with food and always with food, you could pick up your alcohol and take it home or have it delivered,” said TRA president and CEO Emily Williams Knight.
Knight says the state of Texas lost 14% of its restaurants because of the pandemic. She says many more restaurants would have closed if it wasn't for alcohol to go. “We've seen the impact already of about $5 billion in lost revenue 700,000 jobs, and was able to sustain a lot of these restaurants during this period was because of really two things, alcohol to go because it was additional revenue and we also secured a retail waiver,” she said.
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The alcohol to go waiver was recently extended by the governor indefinitely, but TRA wants to take that waiver a step even further by allowing the sale of mixed drinks with food orders.
“Expand that waiver to include cocktails that are mixed on-site, and so sealed on-site and then obviously not in breach of the drivers. We maintain all safety,” said Knight.
Right now, TABC guidelines state restaurants can only serve alcohol in manufactured sealed bottles with purchases of food. That means no mixed drinks.
“We know that about 80% of our operators don't see being profitable this year so any way that we can safely provide them an opportunity to create more revenue and give the consumer something they want, I think is a win and I'm really hopeful the Governor will get behind it,” said Knight.
Knight says she hasn't heard anything formal from the governor yet, but expects to hear back soon.
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