There's one pandemic change that Californians are sure to toast: The to-go cocktail.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that the state will continue allowing restaurants to sell takeout alcohol and keep expanded outdoor dining through the end of the year. Restaurants turned to takeout and outdoor dining during the past year as coronavirus restrictions severely limited indoor service.
"I'm very excited about this and I think this is a good thing for our economic recovery. It's also a good thing for our public health because what occurs is more people will still be outside," Newsom said during a news conference outside Tommy's Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco.
The extensions come as California plans to lift most business restrictions and social distancing rules on June 15, allowing restaurants to resume indoor service at full capacity. Even so, maintaining outdoor dining could help the state control virus spread, Newsom said.
The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control relaxed regulations in March 2020 to let restaurants sell alcohol to go, right around the time Newsom imposed the nation's first statewide stay-at-home order, shuttering restaurants for in-person dining. Since then, restaurants have been allowed to sell pre-packaged alcohol like bottles of beer and wine as well as pre-mixed cocktails ordered with food.