Gov. Walz 'totally supportive' of takeout wine and beer during COVID-19 pandemic

Several Minnesota legislators along with a coalition of local restaurant owners are pushing for a temporary change in state law that would allow current on-sale alcohol retailers to sell pre-packaged alcoholic beverages both in carry-out and delivery

State Rep. Jon Koznick and Sen. John Hoffman announced the proposal at a press conference Monday. They were joined by Jason Saji, general manager of B52 Burgers & Brew in Lakeville and Inver Grove Heights. 

The lawmakers are also sending a letter to Gov. Tim Walz asking him to consider approving the temporary change via executive order.

Walz said he is “totally supportive" of takeout beer and wine during the pandemic, but is asking lawmakers to pass it in legislation Tuesday because he is concerned about a challenge if he does so via executive order.

“Giving restaurants this option is a commonsense way we can help local job creators pay their bills and keep Minnesotans employed,” Koznick said in a release. “For many restaurants, wine and beer sales account for as much as 50 percent of profits. This temporary change gives local establishments the flexibility they need to convert existing wine and beer inventory into revenue while providing a more immediate solution to cash-flow problems than waiting for loan approval.”

OPEN FOR TAKEOUT: List of Twin Cities restaurants open for take-out and delivery

Koznick recommends the following public safety guidelines be considered with his proposal:

  • Bars and restaurants would be required to sell food with all Wine & Beer take-out orders
  • All alcohol sold off-sale would be in pre-packaged, closed containers
  • Beer sales should be limited to pre-packaged products with a maximum of 144 oz per order (12- twelve ounce cans)
  • Wine sales should be limited to 1500 ml of wine (2 regular bottles)
  • Hard liquor would not be allowed for off-sale by bars and restaurants
  • Current rules pertaining to customer age identification and safety would stay in effect
  • Cities and towns have ability to opt out

The change in law would be in effect until emergency orders temporarily closing bars, restaurants and other places of public accommodation have been lifted.