PUEBLO — As detrimental as the effects of COVID-19 have been for everyone, some of the ways we've adapted have turned out to be a silver lining.
Curbside pickup, Telehealth, online grocery shopping, and small businesses launching websites are all inventive ideas that have skyrocketed in popularity throughout the course of the pandemic.
To-go alcohol has been one way for restaurants and bars to survive since lock-downs first began. Now, a bill to extend the opportunity for restaurants to continue serving alcohol in sealed to-go containers is headed to the Senate, after receiving unanimous support in the Colorado House on April 28.
"I love being able to go and pick up food from restaurants that I like to go to too, and go home and get a drink and not be around anybody and sit on my couch ya know!" said Kim Danielson, Manager at Ruby's Wine Bar in Pueblo.
Ruby's and other restaurant in town said having the extra income from to-go cocktails was a big help in the first year of the pandemic.
“It was awesome being able to still to to-gos, but just that added liquor - being able to do liquor sales and kind of burn through the inventory that we’ve had sitting down here forever has helped a ton!"
According to the Colorado Restaurant Association, 1 in every 3 customers in Colorado say they want to see to-go alcohol stick around.
“I think it’s a great idea! I think it touches a lot of people so they don’t have to go out but they can get a restaurant meal and a cocktail for dinner, which I think is wonderful!" said Karen Kerrigan, a customer at Ruby's.
The original draft of the bill did not include an expiration date, but after some amendments the bill now states that the extension for to-go alcohol is restaurants will expire in 2026. Currently, the idea is supposed to end on July 1, 2021.
“I think as long as they’re making money and they’re profitable, let them do it as long as they want!” said Kerrigan.
Ruby's believes even as the cases of COVID-19 decreases, many people won't feel comfortable eating or working indoors at restaurant for years to come.
“If people are uncomfortable dining in still, or they don’t want to sit outside cause the weather’s bad, they still get that whole experience with the food and the liquor! “
You can read the full version of the HB21-1027, click here.