Takeout Liquor Sales Are Still On — and Could Continue Much Longer

Leigh Chavez Bush
You can still order takeout cocktails and other alcohol in Colorado.
Lost in the chaos of a weekend of protests, tear gas and lockdowns (not even caused by coronavirus) was the fact that Governor Jared Polis's executive order (D 2020 011) allowing restaurants to sell takeout booze was set to expire at the end of Sunday, May 31.

On March 20, Polis signed an order suspending specific liquor license limitations so that establishments whose dining rooms and bars were closed to in-house customers could continue to sell beer, wine and spirits. The order was amended on April 6 and extended on April 30 to cover May, and now it has been renewed through the end of June.

The dining-in lockdown was lifted on May 27, so restaurants can now seat customers at 50 percent of their stated capacity (if they follow other restrictions, too). But few operations can make it at half-volume, so extending takeout and delivery options for alcohol will definitely help restaurateurs after two and a half months of drastically reduced sales during the stay-at-home period. Customers must still provide proof that they're at least 21 years old, and must also purchase food with their orders.

The executive order will eventually expire as business returns to some level of normal, but restaurant owners hurting from weeks of lost sales say that it might be years before the industry recovers, and are looking for a long-term solution at the legislature.

A bill has already been proposed by Colorado state senators Kevin Priola (R-Henderson), Jeff Bridges (D-Greenwood Village) and Rachel Zenzinger (D-Arvada) to open up takeout liquor sales for a two-year period, with an expiration date in July 2022. The Colorado Restaurant Association has posted a form on its website that you can fill out and send to the Colorado General Assembly to voice support for the bill.

In the meantime, here's Polis's latest extension: