Senator Simonson Supports Takeout Beer and Wine Orders and Co-Authors Bill Establishing Official Process for Reopening Minnesota Economy

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Restaurants will be able to sell beer, wine, and cider with food takeout thanks to legislation passed Thursday, which will provide an immediate boost for hundreds of restaurants across the state who have lost revenue during COVID-19.

“Restaurants throughout the state are struggling to survive with the restrictions required by COVID-19, and many of them depend on the sales of alcohol to help their already low-profit margins,” said Senator Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth). “This is a smart step forward that will provide an immediate boost to these restaurants throughout the state, and I’m hopeful we can take more measured steps like this to help our small businesses.”

The bill allows establishments with on-sale liquor licenses to sell wine, beer, hard seltzer, and cider as off-sale in addition to their takeout food sales, for the duration of the peacetime emergency. Alcoholic beverage must be sold in the original, unopened packaging and must be limited to 72oz in total of beer, seltzer, and cider, and 750 milliliters of wine per order. Establishments must require proof of age, and municipalities may vote to prohibit these sales in their jurisdiction. Establishments that choose to partake in this must inform their insurance provider. This authority would expire at the end of the peacetime emergency.

Additionally, Senator Simonson co-authored bipartisan legislation to allow businesses to submit plans for their re-opening under a peacetime emergency to the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

“There are many small businesses across the state who are on the cusp of closing permanently who want to do the right thing, take the steps necessary to protect their employees and customers, and re-open,” said Senator Simonson. “This would provide clear direction and a formal process for businesses to submit the plans they need to re-open, begins the process of re-opening our state, and keeps people working.”

The text of the legislation is available here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=senate&f=SF4480&ssn=0&y=2020.

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Erik Simonson represents District 7 in northeastern Minnesota.

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