Tennessee Passes Bill Allowing Continued Sale Of To-Go Alcohol

A pandemic-era rule may soon have a permanent place in Tennessee once a State Senate-approved bill heads to Gov. Bill Lee's desk. Both houses of the Tennessee legislature have passed a bill allowing for the continued sale of to-go alcoholic drinks for an additional two years until 2023, WKRN reports.

Gov. Lee signed an executive order in 2020 that allowed establishments to sell carryout alcoholic beverages from establishments that saw a drastic decrease in or complete halt of in-person customers due to pandemic restrictions and health and safety concerns.

"People are afraid now still to travel, they're afraid to travel, they're afraid to eat out and I think that this is going to make a difference," said Rep. Bob Ramsey, sponsor of the House Bill.

The order ensured that to-go alcoholic beverages could not be purchased separately, rather they required food orders alongside the drinks. The newly-approved bill would continue this requirement, as well as ensure the state will collect taxes on the sales. According to WKRN, Sen. Brian Kelsey, another sponsor of the bill, said the state wasn't able to collect the taxes from the to-go sales with the original executive order, but the bill addresses this concern.

The governor's office said Lee is expected to approve the bill, which will go into effect immediately after it is signed.

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