OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Buying alcohol on the go could soon be possible for Oklahomans.
Three bills passed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives recently and restaurant owners say this is the push that could help them continue to recover from the pandemic.
“This time last year was super emotional and hard. We had to lay off all of our staff with maybe the exception of two or three people,” said Jamie Winteroth, the owner of Aurora and Social Deck and Dining.
House Bill 2122 would create the “Oklahoma Cocktails To-Go Act of 2021” and would allow restaurants to sell drinks to-go.
Winteroth says her restaurants sold cocktails to-go when the pandemic forced the shutdown. She says the ability to do this permanently would help her business.
“It’s a really cool way to say ‘hey, if you don’t feel comfortable eating inside, you can still get these drinks and you learn to make it at home,’” said Winteroth.
A second measure, House Bill 2868, would allow liquor stores to sell alcohol in sealed, original containers through a drive-thru.
Representative Todd Russ voted no for both bills, saying if they pass, lives will be lost.
“The alcohol intoxicating liquor industry has taken pounds and pounds of flesh out of this state…These are like rattlesnakes in the room. The industry continues to throw them at us and we don’t mind because we don’t think they’re hurting anybody,” said Russ.
He argues that lowering the standards for buying alcohol will cost Oklahomans, but Winteroth disagrees.
“We can’t control if people over consume. It’s our job when they walk in the door it’s our job when they walk in the door, if they ask for something and we feel like it is unsafe to give that person alcohol, we shouldn’t be doing it whether it’s in the restaurant or if they’re taking it home,” said Winteroth.
The bill allowing restaurants to sell to-go would only last one year, allowing legislators to consider changes.
A third bill, also passed, which would allow the sale of beer and wine through self-serve, automated machines. Customers would use a specialized card or special technology for the sales.
All three bills will now face the senate.