Measure supports struggling hospitality businesses, heads to Senate for consideration

Today, the Virginia House passed HB 426, a bill to extend cocktails to-go until July 1, 2024, in an effort to support hospitality businesses struggling to cope with the harsh economic impacts of COVID-19.

“Cocktails to-go have been an economic lifeline for Virginia’s hospitality businesses throughout the pandemic, and consumers have grown accustomed to the increased convenience,” said David Wojnar, senior vice president and head of state public policy for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. “In fact, states all across the U.S. are taking action to extend or make cocktails to-go permanent. We are excited to see Virginia on that list. We applaud the Virginia House for taking action to support hospitality businesses and urge the Senate to do the same.”

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to make cocktails to-go permanent, and 14 other states passed legislation to allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis.

“Virginia restaurants showed overwhelming support for the continuation of cocktails-to-go in a survey we conducted late last year, with an approval rate of 93 percent,” Eric Terry, president of the Virginia Restaurant Lodging and Travel Association. “This is a big win for the industry as restaurants continue to recover and seek creative ways to keep their doors open.”


During COVID-19, more than 35 states began allowing restaurants and/or bars to sell cocktails to-go as an economic relief measure via executive orders or other temporary measures. Some states are still considering cocktails to-go legislation.

States that passed legislation to make cocktails to-go permanent:

Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia have all made COVID-era cocktails to-go measures permanent.

States that passed legislation to allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis:

California (expires December 31, 2026), Colorado (expires July 1, 2025), Connecticut (expires June 4, 2024), Delaware (expires March 31, 2022),  Illinois (expires Jan. 3, 2024), Maine (expires Sept. 10, 2022), Maryland (local option – expires June 30, 2023), Massachusetts (expires May 1, 2022), Michigan (expires December 31, 2025), Rhode Island (expires March 1, 2022), Tennessee (expires July 1, 2023), Vermont (expires July 1, 2023), Virginia (expires July 1, 2022) and Washington (expires July 1, 2023) passed legislation to allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis.

The distilled spirits industry is committed to responsibility and encourages moderation for adults who choose to drink alcohol. Cocktails to-go are intended for home consumption. Laws governing alcohol consumption must always be observed.