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Legislature Considers Measures To Help Pandemic-Affected Restaurants

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board

Washington legislators are moving quickly to help restaurants and alcohol-related companies through the pandemic.

A state Senate committee on Thursday approved a bill that gives restaurants and bars more flexibility in providing alcohol for take out. That would extend rules developed by the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board, led by Rick Garza.

“This bill will extend for two years some of the most important allowances we granted during the pandemic despite the fact they are in conflict with either current law or regulation, obviously why we bring this bill to you," he said.

The bill has several provisions. They allow several categories of liquor licensees to provide packaged alcoholic drinks for take out or delivery.

“We appreciate the extension of alcohol to go. This bill takes a really thoughtful approach to this allowance by extending it for pre-mixed drinks and cocktail kits, while omitting full bottles of spirits," said Katie Doyle from the Washington Hospitality Association.

The bill also allows bars and breweries to sell growlers to go and businesses to offer beer and wine samples at farmers markets without also having to serve food.

The bill was approved by a Senate committee on Thursday. An identical bill received a hearing in a House committee on the same and is due for a vote Friday or Monday. If it becomes law, it would take effect immediately.