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Wine & Beer To-Go in Tennessee Needs to be Made Permanent
Restaurants have always been one of the riskiest private sector businesses to open and operate. In a post-COVID world, this particular segment of the service economy has become riskier than ever. Limited capacities in dining rooms, health screenings prior to entry, and increased reliance on third-party delivery services all have the effect of draining profitability from an enterprise that relies on face-to-face interactions, cash tips, and filling seats.
Yet, there is undeniable evidence that restaurants – particularly those that are considered “fine dining,” “white tablecloth,” or that specialize in premium beverages like fine wine and craft beer – lead the way in the revitalization of neighborhoods, increasing property values, and improving the quality of life of their communities. Every effort should be made to find new ways to help keep these businesses profitable and adaptable for the future.
We applaud Governor Bill Lee’s foresight with the signing of Executive Order 17 allowing restaurants to sell beer and wine for off premises consumption. This has been a vital lifeline during the time of greatest hardship for restaurants in Tennessee, but with an uncertain future for restaurants still on the horizon and the need for innovation made manifest, we ask the state to preserve this right in perpetuity.
We understand that the statutes regulating alcohol in the Tennessee State Code are complex and that careful planning and compromises on all sides will need to be made in order to further this goal, but we believe it is time to open the dialogue and begin the process of saving jobs and businesses in Tennessee.