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Missouri bars, restaurants can sell mixed drinks to go after DPS changes rule


Missouri bars and restaurants are now allowed to sell mixed drinks to go — as long as they adhere to several guidelines — the Missouri Department of Public Safety (DPS) officially announced Tuesday. 

With a statewide stay at home order in place — and local mandates that have been in place for even longer — most Missouri establishments have had to close their dining rooms or shutter completely during the global coronavirus pandemic. Some had to make adjustments and began selling beer, wine, and liquor for patrons to take home. 

While state law permits the sale of alcohol in its original packaging from companies with a valid liquor license, it did not allow for the sale of mixed drinks “to go.” But on Tuesday, the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, under the DPS umbrella, temporarily waived some restrictions regarding the sale of alcohol not in original containers. 

DPS Director Sandy Karsten said the waived requirements will allow for the sale of alcohol in containers that are durable, leak-proof, sealable, and meet the minimum size requirements laid out in state statute (11 CSR 70-2.010(5)). 

Requirements include: 

  • Customers must purchase a meal alongside the alcohol purchase
  • Alcohol must be placed in a one-time use, tamper-proof, and transparent bag that is properly sealed, or the container must be sealed with tamper-proof tape
  • Open container laws across Missouri remain in place 

“This change is being done to assist restaurant owners as well as their employees during this time of unprecedented restrictions,” Karsten said. 

Sen. Lauren Arthur and Rep. Wes Rogers — both Democrats in the Kansas City area — led the charge in pushing for this change in March. They pointed to other states, like Texas and New York, that already waived regulations related to the sale and delivery of alcohol to be consumed off-premise during the global pandemic. 

“It’s important the state of Missouri remains flexible and helps businesses adapt to protect the livelihoods of thousands of men and women,” Arthur told The Missouri Times Tuesday. “I appreciate the Department of Public Safety’s rule change and believe it will assist small businesses’ ability to maintain an income stream during these hard economic times.”

“Allowing Missouri businesses to sell mixed drinks ‘to go’ makes a ton of sense,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt said on social media. “It’s also a good example of common-sense regulatory reform that’ll help small businesses, restaurants/bars [and] give consumers more options during this difficult time.” 

The division pointed to a March executive order from Gov. Mike Parson which allowed various departments to temporarily waive certain restrictions as deemed necessary. 

The temporarily relaxed restrictions are in place until May 15. 

Parson also signed an executive order in March suspending the prohibition on sales of unprepared foods by restaurants to the public. He said this order was to “assist restaurants” during this time. 

More than 4,600 Missourians have tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 133 have died. Unemployment claims have skyrocketed in recent weeks, with as many as 76,800 claims related to coronavirus for the week ending April 4. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.