During this time of pandemic, when everyone is cloistered in their respective homes and trying not to catch or spread the coronavirus, it’s small things that will get us through. Take, for example, the convenience of allowing those of us who order take-out to get a bottle of wine or a couple of beers to go with our meal.
Doing so isn’t permitted in normal times, when restaurants with alcohol licenses can only serve on the premises. These, it should go without saying, are not normal times.
So, cheers, as it were, to Gov. Chris Sununu who on Wednesday issued an emergency order allowing restaurants to sell beer and wine with carry-out or delivery orders. As in Massachusetts, those establishments are prohibited from serving food on site as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus.
Officials in Massachusetts are considering extending the same courtesy, as state Sen. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, and a handful of chambers of commerce are now advocating.
For DiZoglio and others, this isn’t so much an issue of the creature comforts of ordering dinner to eat in the living room. It’s about the survival of small businesses, particularly restaurants, for whom beer and wine typically represent a significant portion of sales.
Forced closure under the current emergency represents an existential threat to many. For those keeping their kitchens going, and trying to survive on take-out and delivery, adding beer and wine could make a big difference.
Per other parts of the state’s alcohol law, restaurants could not sell to people underage. Patrons would have to show ID. Also, restaurant owners would have the discretion to refuse service.
New York, which has also closed its restaurants and bars, opened a similar loophole, provided that alcohol is sold with food.
It’s not a magical coronavirus cure, to be sure, but it’s a convenience that can make things less bad for a lot of us.