For as long as most of us can remember if you wanted to go out for a drink, you had to stay at the bar until you were finished. You weren’t allowed to order a drink to go.
During the 2019 pandemic, things changed. Bar and restaurant owners struggled to keep their businesses afloat while their regular patrons worked hard to obey social distancing and self-quarantining laws and stayed home.
The problem prompted lawmakers to take an unexpected step. As the pandemic continued to drag on, they passed a law that made it legal to order a drink to go. The catch was that this was a temporary law, designed to get people through the pandemic.
If you loved ordering your favorite drink from a bar and then taking it home so you could enjoy it in your own home, you’ll be delighted to know you can still do this. The recent passing of Senate Bill 389 allows some bars and restaurants to send customers home with wine and cocktails. Best of all, this law will remain in effect for the next five years. It’s likely that in five years, lawmakers will evaluate the situation and if it’s going well, they could decide to allow to-go adult beverages to continue.
Just because you can order your favorite wine and cocktail to-go, you’re free to do whatever you want with the drink. You still aren’t allowed to drive while intoxicated. Nor are you allowed to drink while you’re driving. Getting caught for either of these things will result in you getting into legal trouble.
You already know about California’s drunk driving laws, but you’re probably less aware of the state’s open container laws. In California, you aren’t allowed to consume alcohol or marijuana while you’re in a car. It doesn’t matter if you’re a driver or a passenger, you can’t have an open container in the vehicle.
If you are caught with an open container in your car, you will be hit with an infraction. The fine ranges from $100 to $250. If the drivers or passengers are underage, the repercussions of the open container is could result in six months in jail or a $1,000 fine.