Maine lawmakers are considering a proposal to extend takeout alcohol through September 2022.
Restaurants and bars in Maine have been allowed to sell alcohol via takeout and delivery service during the coroanvirus pandemic as long as liquor is accompanied by a food order. Democratic Sen. Louis Luchini of Ellsworth has proposed extending the provision until Sept. 10, 2022.
The Maine Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee voted Feb. 17 to approve the proposal, which must now go before the full Legislature.
Luchini’s proposal would also allow Maine distilleries, including small distilleries that operate tasting rooms but lack on-site retail businesses, to sell spirits via takeout and delivery. Those businesses would be able to sell the products regardless of a food order, Maine Democrats said.
Greg Dugal of Hospitality Maine said in testimony about the bill that “it will be years before restaurateurs get back to the level of business they once had.” That means the extension of the takeout alcohol provision is necessary to keep businesses afloat, he said.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills used a March 2020 executive order to permit takeout alcohol sales. Loss of the ability to sell takeout alcohol because of the expiration of the order could be “devastating,” Dugal said.
In other Maine virus news:
The positivity rate in Maine is continuing to trend downward.
The latest average positivity rate in Maine is 1.15%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Maine the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.
The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Maine did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 3.38% on Feb. 8 to 1.15% on Feb. 22.
Maine health authorities have reported more than 43,000 positive cases of the virus and 660 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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