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Bill to keep to-go alcohol sales in Tennessee heads to governor's desk

The bill would authorize businesses to sell liquor and beer to-go for three more years.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A bill that would let Tennessee businesses continue selling alcohol to-go has been approved by the legislature and now heads to Governor Bill Lee's desk.

S.B. 0681 was introduced by Senator Brian Kelsey (R - District 31) and allows businesses licensed for on-premises drinking to offer drive-through, pickup and carryout orders of alcohol.

The bill also requires that food be sold in the same order and that the drinks are packaged in a container or bottle with a secure lid that must be removed before drinking. It also says businesses cannot sell more than 16 fluid ounces per purchase or more than a container of wine per purchase.

Businesses that sell to-go drinks will need to post a sign that says drivers cannot drink alcohol while using a vehicle in Tennessee. The bill also specifies that it does not allow businesses to sell bottles of distilled spirits. Employees will also be prohibited from providing alcohol if they under 21 years old.

Businesses will also need to see a valid ID to confirm that buyers are at least 21 years old.

The bill passed a senate vote 23-4 after passing in the house, and now heads to the governor's desk. If he signs it, the new law would take effect on July 1, 2021 and last through July 2023 before it would need to be re-approved to remain law.