What You Should Know About Alcohol To-Go During the Pandemic


As a wise person who once said, “In troubled times, you just need to know when to give up and have a margarita.” I think we can all relate to that.

Attorney Steve Toland begins a new series breaking down the Executive Order that Texas Governor Abbott released in March about alcohol to-go during the pandemic.

On March 19th of 2020, he issued an executive order that over-read previous rules from the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission about alcohol to go from restaurants, but it spurs many questions that we’ve received frequently since.

There are four things you should remember about the alcohol to-go in Texas.

1. It only protects you for manufactured sealed alcohol.

The alcohol needs to stay in the original container, which the manufacturer put it in. Restaurants cannot make their alcoholic beverage and put it in a styrofoam cup and put some scotch tape over it. Now they can make the cocktail mix that goes with it and sell that as a separate item, but they can’t sell the alcohol themselves. It has to be in its original sealed manufactured container.

2. It applies to a certain volume of alcohol it’s 0.375 milliliters of alcohol.

Similar to those airline bottles, the tiny ones. You can’t go and get a bottle of service from a restaurant.

3. You have to purchase food with alcohol.

Restaurants cannot turn themselves into a bar and start just selling liquor to-go. They have to sell you food as well, or you have to purchase food as well.

4. It doesn’t change the rules for those restaurants or bars that already had previously obtained specialty licensure from TABC to sell beer, to-go, or wine to-go.

Those places are still in effect, but those rules don’t apply because they already had previous permission to sell.

Those are the four things you should keep in mind about alcohol. It is legal. However, don’t forget, open container rules still apply. So you can’t take your little miniature bottle of alcohol, mix it, and then drive with it home. That would be a violation of class C violation in Texas of an open container rule.

We’ll talk in future episodes of In Your Defense about the open container laws in Texas.

If you have any questions about alcohol-related offenses or any criminal liability issues whatsoever, please reach out to us.

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