Whitmer signs bills to make carry-out cocktails permanent, allows alcohol sales at college stadiums

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a news conference at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. on March 13, 2023.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at a news conference at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. on March 13, 2023.

A provision to make alcohol more accessible to help Michigan bars and restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic was made permanent.

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan Senate Bill 141 that eliminates the Jan. 1, 2026 sunsetting of the provision that allowed to-go cocktails, essentially making Michigan one of the many states to allow them.

Restaurant and bar owners , along with industry officials, advocated for the allowance of carry-out cocktails to help keep businesses afloat during mandatory shutdowns throughout 2020 and 2021. The trend proved to be popular even after indoor restrictions were lifted.

“We’ve heard from so many restaurant owners that this additional revenue stream became a lifeline that kept them in business,” said bill sponsor state Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak, in a statement. “Three years in, it’s proven to be a popular new way for customers to support their favorite restaurants, and has resulted in zero reported violations or safety issues.”

In related news, Whitmer also signed Senate Bill 247 that allows Michigan public universities to sell alcohol during sporting events. Schools can apply for special licenses to sell alcoholic beverages during the football, basketball and hockey seasons.

“Authorizing the legal sale of alcohol at sporting events will bring us on equal footing with other universities, help reduce the likelihood of binge drinking before games, and bring in a heck of a lot more revenue that we can use to improve the student experience,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I am proud that we are getting this done and making fall evenings at Spartan Stadium or the Big House safer and more fun.”

Schools would be allowed to apply for licenses for 100 days total during any calendar year.

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  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.