SACRAMENTO – Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to assist restaurants struggling to recover from the pandemic by permanently allowing the sale of to-go cocktails as part of take-out food orders.
“The ability to sell carry-out cocktails is an important step toward helping our restaurants, which have been hit hard by the pandemic,” Sen. Dodd said. “It will ensure their recovery, protecting jobs and our economy. I thank my legislative colleagues and the governor for supporting this new law.”
“With Sen. Dodd’s leadership, we extended an important small business lifeline to our local restaurants,” said the bill’s co-author, Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda. “SB 389 was thoughtfully crafted and with safety in mind and ensures that these important community fixtures are able to rebound and thrive.”
Additional co-authors are Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco; Assemblymember Laura Friedman, D-Glendale and Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens.
The legislation comes as restaurants nationwide recover from hundreds of billions of dollars in losses sustained because of lockdowns and social distancing requirements to stop the spread of coronavirus. A survey by the National Restaurant Association found 78% of restaurant owners who began selling take-out alcohol rehired laid off employees compared to 62% overall. At least 33 states including California are temporarily allowing the sale of to-go cocktails during the pandemic.
To ensure the economic recovery of California restaurants, Sen. Dodd’s proposal – Senate Bill 389 — would allow restaurants to sell to-go alcoholic beverages with food orders. The provision would sunset after five years. SB 389 contains provisions to ensure alcohol is not sold to minors.
Sen. Dodd, who is chair of the Senate Governmental Organization committee overseeing such areas as alcohol regulation, introduced the bill with the support of the California Restaurant Association. It passed the Senate and Assembly with overwhelming support before it was signed by Gov. Newsom.
“We thank you for your leadership on this issue and for taking what has been a successful trial project for the last year and seeking to keep it in place as the restaurant community attempts to rebuild over the next few years from the current economic devastation — and return as one of California’s largest private sector employers,” said Matt Sutton, senior vice president of the California Restaurant Association, in a letter of support for SB 389.
“Our restaurant industry plays a vital role in our economic stability that in turn provides essential services to our community. We must look long term and some change is inevitable,” said Napa Mayor Scott Sedgley. “Sen. Dodd’s bill, SB389, is but another piece in the big picture of keeping our economies healthy.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.