Georgia lawmakers push to legalize home delivery of liquor

Georgia lawmakers are pushing to make home deliveries of alcohol legal in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill, put forward by Republican State Rep. Brett Harrell, would allow restaurants, bars and grocery stores to deliver alcohol to their customers.

“The genesis of the bill and the idea is from consumer demand and our small businesses trying to serve their customers,” Harrell told local news outlet WSBTV.

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The State Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill 42-9 on Tuesday, which means the current version of the bill will head back to the Georgia House for final approval. The House has until Friday to send it to the governor’s desk for a signature.

The bill has reportedly been in the works for the last two years and passed through the state’s House in March, just prior to state lawmakers putting a pause on legislation due to the coronavirus.

Restaurants and bars around the nation have struggled during the pandemic, and businesses in Georgia continue to feel the strain even as the state has initiated reopening the economy.

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According to a local business owner in Atlanta, “15 percent to 20 percent” of sales are attributed to to-go orders, WSBTV reported. But the alcohol delivery option would further allow people to increase their purchasing ability.

Under the new delivery bill, alcohol would not be permitted to be dropped off without checking the ID of the buyer to ensure legal age, which would be required.

Local municipalities would also be allowed to opt out of permitting the delivery of alcohol.

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The liquor store lobby reportedly opted out of the delivery option, which means liquor stores would not be allowed to deliver alcohol in Georgia.

Delivery services expanded to unprecedented levels during the coronavirus pandemic, as people turned to delivery as an alternative while following stay-at-home orders.