Bills introduced in Michigan that would allow alcohol takeout and delivery, social areas for drinking

Two bills have been introduced in the Michigan House that would expand how Michiganders can purchase and where Michiganders can publicly drink alcohol this summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One bill would allow restaurants to provide alcoholic drinks through takeout or delivery. The second bill would create so-called outdoor "social districts" where patrons can legally drink alcohol. 

Bill 5811 would allow the establishment to fill and sell qualified containers with beer, wine, mixed spirit drink or spirits for consumption off the premises. 

The conditions are they must follow Michigan food laws, get approved for sale by the commission and not fill the container prior to making the sale. 

The bill would also allow the establishment to sell and deliver beer, wine, mixed spirit drinks or spirits. 

The conditions are everyone must pay applicable taxes, comply with state law, deliver in a container that is clearly marked or stamped as containing alcohol, and the receiving party must show ID and sign at delivery. Strawholes are not allowed to be on the shipping container. 

Bill 5781 would create social districts within a common area that can be used by on-premises licensees with this specific permit to sell liquor on the premises. 

Local government can designate social districts with outdoor common areas where people can drink alcohol from nearby restaurants. Drinks must also be served in a container that prominently displays the restaurant's name or logo and cannot be taken to another social district. 

The bills still need approval from the full House of Representatives before moving to the Senate.

On Monday this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer advanced all of Michigan's eight regions into Phase 4 of re-starting the economy. This means bars and restaurants are allowed to re-open for in-person dining with capacity and social distancing limits. 

These bills introduced would give restaurants more outdoor space and revenue options for alcoholic takeout and delivery. 

Gov. Whitmer also lifted the stay-home order starting June 8 and allowed groups of up to 100 to gather outdoors with social distancing precautions.