Newsom makes the smart move by preserving liberalized alcohol policies.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a trio of good alcohol-related bills last week. The measures extend relaxed alcohol rules for bars and restaurants that were put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Two of the three bills extend outdoor dining permits and alcohol sales at the pandemic-era parklets for a year after the state of emergency ends, giving businesses time to seek permission for permanent approval,” the Associated Press reports. “The third allows restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries that sell food to continue offering to-go alcoholic beverages with food orders through Dec. 31, 2026.”
Generally, deregulatory measures of this type enjoy widespread public support. And while the California Restaurant Association, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, and other groups hailed the California vote, not everyone’s happy with these laws.
As I reported in 2020, alcohol prohibitionists always opposed Covid-related deregulation that benefited bars, restaurants, and consumers. For example, an April 2020 report by Movendi—a Sweden-based anti-alcohol group—claimed only one U.S. state, Pennsylvania, had “improved alcohol laws” in response to the pandemic. How exactly had Pennsylvania improved its alcohol laws? Movendi hailed Pennsylvania for having “close[d] all liquor stores and other alcohol distributors.”