Alcohol with take-out: should it stay? RI House finance committee to discuss

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -Since May, Rhode Islanders have enjoyed getting cocktails, bottles of wine, or beer to-go when ordering take-out from their favorite restaurants. 

It’s a perk that isn’t normally allowed, but has kept restaurants and their customers happy during the pandemic. Which is why Speaker of the R.I. House Representatives, Nick Mattiello, introduced legislation to extend the executive order which currently allows it.

“The world is different, our restaurants are hurting,” Mattiello told ABC6 Tuesday. “This is a great way to help the restaurants.”

Earlier this week, Speaker Mattiello introduced bill H8130, which would allow restaurants to continue selling alcohol with take-out orders through December of 2021. 

The House Committee on Finance is set to discuss the bill at their meeting Wednesday. 

At the start of the pandemic in March, Governor Gina Raimondo signed an executive order allowing restaurants to sell bottled beer and wine with take-out orders. She amended the order in May to allow for mixed drinks as well. 

“That was a great shot in the arm for our restaurants when they desperately needed it,” Mattiello said of the governor’s original order. 

Many restaurants tell ABC6 they hope to see Mattiello’s bill passed through.

“Anything helps right now,” said Jamie Antignano, co-owner of Angelo’s Restaurant on Federal Hill. “Take-out sales for alcohol have helped us tremendously as dining has not picked up to where we used to be.” 

Like many restaurants along Atwells Avenue, Angelo’s has gotten creative with their cocktails to-go. They sell their signature sangrias and margaritas in 16 oz. pouches or 32 oz. tubs. 

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” said Speaker Mattiello.

If passed, Mattiello’s bill would allow restaurants with their liquor licenses the ability to sell up to 2 bottles of wine, 144 oz. of beer, or mixed cocktails in sealed containers with take-out orders through 2021.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020

Categories: News, Rhode Island