Lawmakers explore expanding cocktail takeout, delivery

Jessica Wong

People could soon get an old fashioned to go with their takeout fish fry order, or get a drink delivered with their food. Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus in WisconsinTwo proposals in the state Legislature are designed to help the struggling restaurant industry.The pandemic has hit restaurants hard in Wisconsin and lawmakers […]

People could soon get an old fashioned to go with their takeout fish fry order, or get a drink delivered with their food. Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus in WisconsinTwo proposals in the state Legislature are designed to help the struggling restaurant industry.The pandemic has hit restaurants hard in Wisconsin and lawmakers proposing those changes say they could be a lifeline to Wisconsin restaurants and bars. “I think it’s great. That will help a small business like us,” said Jaime Gonzalez of Botanas Restaurant on Milwaukee’s south side.Gonzalez gives two thumbs up to proposed legislation that would make it legal in Wisconsin to sell customers a margarita along with their takeout food order. “During the pandemic, we’re all suffering. This would be very, very helpful to us,” Gonzalez said. The Wisconsin Restaurant Association estimates 37% of restaurants will close because of the pandemic and lost business. “It’s going to help fill the void of lost sales. It’s not going to help save everybody, but it’s going to be a real boost in the arm,” said Kristine Hillmer, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. Critics are concerned about people jumping in their cars with booze to go. “The cocktails to go would be curbside delivery or you go into the restaurant and you pick it up. There still is a face-to-face transaction so you can check ID’s so you can make sure there isn’t underage drinking happening,” Hillmer said. A separate proposal to allow cocktails to be delivered to your home is expected to face more opposition even with safeguards designed to stop delivering booze to those underage. That’s why Green Bay Republican state Rep. David Steffen said he wants his “cocktails to go” proposal voted on separately.”The alcohol delivery bill is certainly one that’s going to receive attention and deserves it and will receive my support. But to begin with, I want this to be a clean bill, a fast bill that we can get through and get immediate relief,” Steffen said. The bill’s author expects his bill to have a public hearing next week and perhaps be signed into law sometime next month. The cocktail delivery bill will likely take longer. Sign up for coronavirus email alerts from WISNGet breaking news alerts with the WISN 12 app.Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

People could soon get an old fashioned to go with their takeout fish fry order, or get a drink delivered with their food.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus in Wisconsin

Two proposals in the state Legislature are designed to help the struggling restaurant industry.

The pandemic has hit restaurants hard in Wisconsin and lawmakers proposing those changes say they could be a lifeline to Wisconsin restaurants and bars.

“I think it’s great. That will help a small business like us,” said Jaime Gonzalez of Botanas Restaurant on Milwaukee’s south side.

Gonzalez gives two thumbs up to proposed legislation that would make it legal in Wisconsin to sell customers a margarita along with their takeout food order.

“During the pandemic, we’re all suffering. This would be very, very helpful to us,” Gonzalez said.

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association estimates 37% of restaurants will close because of the pandemic and lost business.

“It’s going to help fill the void of lost sales. It’s not going to help save everybody, but it’s going to be a real boost in the arm,” said Kristine Hillmer, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.

Critics are concerned about people jumping in their cars with booze to go.

“The cocktails to go would be curbside delivery or you go into the restaurant and you pick it up. There still is a face-to-face transaction so you can check ID’s so you can make sure there isn’t underage drinking happening,” Hillmer said.

A separate proposal to allow cocktails to be delivered to your home is expected to face more opposition even with safeguards designed to stop delivering booze to those underage.

That’s why Green Bay Republican state Rep. David Steffen said he wants his “cocktails to go” proposal voted on separately.

“The alcohol delivery bill is certainly one that’s going to receive attention and deserves it and will receive my support. But to begin with, I want this to be a clean bill, a fast bill that we can get through and get immediate relief,” Steffen said.

The bill’s author expects his bill to have a public hearing next week and perhaps be signed into law sometime next month. The cocktail delivery bill will likely take longer.

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