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Bartender pushes to legalize to-go cocktails in time of COVID-19

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    PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) — Bartenders in Oregon want to expand how restaurants and bars can sell alcohol amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Currently, restaurants and bars can sell beer and wine to-go. However, it’s illegal to sell cocktails with liquor for takeout.

That’s why Portland bartender Matt Gumm decided to create a petition with others, demanding state legislatures make to-go cocktails legal.

“Definitely didn’t expect it to get the attention that it’s receiving,” Gumm said.

With nearly 3,000 signatures already, Gumm said the push for takeout mixed drinks is to help Oregon’s hospitality industry bring in more business.

“You’re looking at the potential to have a revenue stream outside of operating within those guidelines and having folks come in for cocktails, and potentially being able to sell to somebody who doesn’t want to come in and sit at a bar at this time,” Gumm said.

Gumm said it’s also for small places that can’t open right now, using the cocktail bar Rum Club as an example.

“They just can’t do it and also adhere to those guidelines for a way where it makes sense for their business,” Gumm said. “So, this would be an opportunity for places like them, which have just such a small footprint, to be able to bring in some income.”

A number of other states, including Washington, have already gotten the green light to sell cocktails during the pandemic. Gumm hopes Oregon follows suit.

“We’re not asking for this to be a thing that just runs forever, but at least until this COVID thing gets handled or gets under our thumb, so to speak, just to give us all the tools at our disposal to make as much money as we possibly can for our industry,” Gumm said.

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