Is it Time for Iowa to Get Rid of Liquor To-Go? [OPINION]
New York seems like an archaic state in many ways. But, with a population of millions and millions, it makes sense they'd have more fluid laws than Iowa, a state with a smaller populous than one borough of New York City. Why am I talking about New York? With zero notice, they've once again banned carry-out alcohol or 'to-go' sales.
Like many states, Iowa included, they first legalized this last year during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. While ending the legality of booze to go is a sign of a return to normal, it's also silly. Why not allow bars to make extra money from a client base that otherwise wouldn't exist?
New York ended alcohol to go, should Iowa follow suit?
While the state of New York ended allowing patrons to grab booze and go, Iowa should not follow suit, and here are the main reasons why I feel nothing about our law needs to change:
- Iowa has four seasons
With winter being a treacherous time especially if you have a heads-up on a storm, why not go get your alcohol early? Saves the risk of sitting at a bar during severe weather.
- Iowa has a large rural population
Piggybacking on the above, it's not always easy for people in a more rural setting to travel. Should they want a cocktail from their favorite establishment, making one trip to town to cover groceries and otherwise is much simpler than driving in for a cocktail from your favorite drinking hole.
- It encourages people to try something new
Don't love crowds? Dislike having to wait for a table at your favorite bar? Get a drink to go. Great way to try a new place, too. Might find a new favorite drink. Win-win for small business bars and restaurants.
- It's safe
In May, Iowa tweaked its liquor to-go laws by restricting bars and restaurants from putting the drink(s) in a container that could be easily accessed by a driver while he/she drives home. No styrofoam cups, no containers with easy access via a straw. In May 2021, the Iowa House voted 85-1 to allow liquor-licensed businesses to continue selling alcoholic drinks to-go.
Alcohol is a touchy subject for many, and I can understand where there'd be concerns among those who have had issues with alcohol. However, as bars and restaurants continue to struggle with staffing issues and weeknight closures, it takes far less staff to prepare a carry-out/delivery order than to serve patrons face-to-face. By allowing people to carry out booze, you're also allowing them to continue to support their favorite bar/restaurant without taking up a table.
Americans like carry-out alcohol sales
A recent study from the survey site YouGov found that 60% of Americans think bars ought to be allowed to keep the to-go liquor sales, at least for right now. And, I couldn't agree more.
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