The Potluck

Walz considering allowing restaurants, bars sell alcohol with takeout food orders

By: - March 20, 2020 4:36 pm

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Gov. Tim Walz on Friday provided a glimmer of hope to restaurant owners struggling with the closure of dine-in options, saying he’s considering allowing the sale of alcohol for takeout orders. 

“There’s a very strong online presence to ask me that,” he said. “We’re looking at trying. Every suggestion is being brought up and I want to stress to folks that are out there, we are trying to lean into what helps them, again, managing public safety but I can tell you we are exploring that.” 

Minnesota bar and restaurant owners are on edge following Walz’s Monday announcement to close dine-in services to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many worry they won’t be able to survive the temporary shutdown as Minnesotans hunker down during the pandemic. 

Lawmakerslike state Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, have taken to social media visiting restaurants in their districts urging customers to place takeout orders or support business through gift card purchases.

A petition has had more than 6,500 signatures urging Walz to allow Minnesota restaurants with on-premise liquor licenses to allow alcohol sales for to-go orders. 

Governors in states like Maryland, New Hampshire, New York and Texas have temporarily loosened state requirements to allow restaurants to deliver or offer alcohol with takeout orders. 

Maryland is allowing delivery with requirements that include age verification and the following of social distancing recommendations. Texas is even allowing delivery of mixed drinks. New Hampsire is only allowing the delivery of beer or wine and has restrictions, including no delivery to schools or universities

Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, asked constituents on Facebook what they thought about allowing alcohol sales with takeout orders and said by phone that her post received dozens of comments in favor. 

“I see it as a compromise,” she said, “I think it could help and draws a middle line between shutting down their dine-in service and keeping them fairly afloat.

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