Letter to Governor Pritzker to provide relief for the hospitality industry

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May 14, 2020

JB Prtizker, Governor
Cynthia Berg, Chairman, Illinois Liquor Commission
Chimaobi Enyia, Executive Director, Illinois Liquor Commission

Dear Governor Pritzker, Chairman Berg, and Director Enyia,

First and foremost, we are grateful for your leadership and steadfast commitment to the health and safety of Illinois residents during this immensely challenging time with an unknown end date. We are writing to you today as legislators concerned for the hospitality industry in Illinois and eager to bring your attention to a temporary relief opportunity for bars and restaurants during this incredibly difficult time. The hospitality industry and the public have rallied around this effort, Cocktails for Hope.
We have all heard from many small business owners, including restaurants and bars, on this incredible challenge, with an unknown depth and duration. Very few have been able to access the current business supports, which primarily come as loans (not grants), and therefore as legislators, we are looking for any lifelines for our cherished bars and restaurants that serve as community hubs, drivers of economic activity and job sustainers.

Executive action or guidance through the Illinois Liquor Control Commission to allow for the sale of pre-mixed cocktails for take out or delivery is this critical lifeline. We’re advocating for such a measure, already enacted by several other cities and states across the country, which would jump-start revenue for these bars and restaurants. Restaurants and bars are sitting on an inventory that would yield much higher immediate returns as cocktail sales, rather than the currently approved bottle sales, allow businesses to better meet margins at a time when the industry is at risk of cratering despite a high consumer interest in alcoholic drinks.

We understand that this new measure requires solutions to ensure compliance with the laws that govern alcohol purchase and transport. Some solutions to these issues include:

● Tamper-evident sealing for all beverages to ensure all drinks remain unaltered during transport
● Maintain the integrity from raw materials to finished product through lot control and batch numbers to track each batch
● Require 1st-party alcohol delivery to ensure a delivery chain that is safer, more efficient, and allows businesses to hire back staff
● All mixed beverages must be placed in the trunk to satisfy open-container laws
● A copy of the restaurant’s liquor license must be displayed prominently in any delivery vehicle
● Require recipients to prove they are of age with a valid government ID
● All businesses must certify that they will limit the sales of beverages for delivery residences within the state of Illinois

Given the unknown depth and duration of the pandemic and subsequent economic recovery, we are convinced this measure will save jobs, restaurants and bars, neighborhoods, and an industry. Thank you for considering this critical lifeline measure to an industry that makes up 10% of our economy.
Rep Lindsey Lapointe – 19th District
Senator Sara Feigenholtz – 6th District
Rep Mary Edly-Allen – 51st District
Rep Jehan Gordon-Booth – 92nd District
Rep Monica Bristow – 111th District
Rep Tim Butler – 87th District
Rep Jonathan Carroll – 57th District
Rep Kelly Cassidy – 14th District
Rep Deb Conroy – 46th District
Rep Eva-Dina Delgado – 3rd District
Rep Anthony DeLuca – 80th District
Rep Robyn Gabel – 18th District
Rep Gong-Gershowitz – 17th District
Rep Will Guzzardi – 39th District
Rep Sonya Harper – 6th District
Rep Greg Harris – 13th District
Rep Barabara Hernandez – 83rd District
Rep Jay Hoffman – 113th District
Rep Deanne Mazzochi – 47th District
Rep Yoni Pizer – 12th District
Rep Delia Ramirez – 4th District
Rep Brad Stephens – 20th District
Rep Chris Welch – 7th District
Rep Grant Wehrli – 41st District
Rep Ann M. Williams – 11th District
Rep Jawaharial Williams – 10th District
Rep Michael Zalewski – 23rd District
Senator Tom Cullerton – 23rd District
Senator Laura Fine – 9th District
Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton – 24th District
Senator David Koehler – 46th District
Senator Robert Martwick – 10th District
Senator Robert Peters – 13th District
Senator Dave Syverson – 35th District