The COVID-19 pandemic created new dynamics for restaurants in California and throughout the country. Owners were desperate to stay afloat while being forced to keep their buildings empty. Those who did not provide drive-through services had to add curbside service to serve their customers without violating executive orders.
Food was not the only offering on menus. Newly passed laws allowed alcoholic beverages for customers to enjoy at home with certain conditions that included an approved container, two-drink minimum, and placement of the cocktail in a secure place, specifically a locked glove compartment or trunk.
Convenience may come with serious costs
Multiple risks exist that could result in serious liability issues. The brief interaction provides employees minimal, if any, insight into potential intoxication. In addition, once the customer is out of sight, nothing is stopping them from consuming the drink while driving.
In spite of the issues surrounding to-go alcoholic drinks, California and many other states are now extending the option to the end of 2021. While it helps a beleaguered dining industry with many restaurants desperate to get out from under, it increases the chance of a driver imbibing well before arriving back home.
If the goal is to increase revenues, an equally likely outcome could be an increased number of drunk drivers on the road, resulting in severe and potentially fatal accidents. Restaurants who are in the process of turning around their fortunes could find themselves as defendants in serious car accident claims, all because customers decided that they couldn’t wait to enjoy their alcoholic beverage while behind the wheel.