Amid coronavirus, here’s the lowdown on buying booze in metro Atlanta

In most cities across the metro area, liquor stores remain open, restaurants can sell to-go cocktails

Liquor Ties Wine as the Second-Favorite Adult Beverage A new Gallup poll says that in terms of first choice, liquor and wine are nearly on equal terms in America. Both beverages still lag behind beer, the United States' most popular alcoholic drink. Results from the poll say that 29% of adults named liquor as their first drink of choice, a jump from 19% in 2018. Wine is barely holding onto its lead at 30% in the poll and has seen a drop in recent years. In terms of income, the poll adds that those

You may not be able to belly up at any bar in Atlanta right now, but that doesn’t mean the liquor isn’t flowing. In fact, just the opposite.

Without anywhere to go, people across the country are bringing happy hour to their own homes.

According to Neilsen data cited by Eater, sales at off-premise retailers like grocery and liquor stores were up nearly 30% for wine, 26.4% for spirits and 14% for beer, cider and malt beverages nationwide for the week of March 14.

But, if your stockpile is running low, here’s what you need to know about buying more beer, wine or alcohol in metro Atlanta amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Can I get alcohol when I order dinner from a local restaurant?

On March 19, Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order banning in-person dining and limiting restaurants and bars to take out service only.

The following day, Bottoms signed an order allowing bars and restaurants to sell unopened beer and wine for off-premises consumption with to-go orders, which may prove to be a big added bump in revenue for the industry amid trying times.

Bottoms’ order set off a string of similar measures in cities across the metro area, including in Roswell, Sandy Springs and Alpharetta.

Are liquor stores still open?

On March 23, Mayor Bottoms signed a 14-day stay-at-home order. However, the executive order listed a number of

exceptions for “essential” services and businesses. That, of course, included grocery stores where shoppers can purchase beer and wine.

However, the order did not originally specify liquor stores as being essential. But, on March 27, Bottoms re-issued her order to add that "package stores, such as liquor stores and wine shops ... are also exempt."

Similar actions by local leaders throughout the metro area and across the country have allowed liquor stores to remain open. (Although, keep in mind that in other parts of the country, the sale of hard alcohol is also allowed in grocery stores).

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In an article for Psychology Today, Peg O'Connor a professor of philosophy writes that the decision to designate liquor stores as "essential businesses" points to something deeper within American culture.

“There’s no doubt there would be a massive uprising if liquor stores were ordered to close. It is a reasonable assumption,” O’Connor writes. “States know this and they do not want this sort of insurrection in the context of a pandemic.”

She notes that alcohol can provide a sort of comfort amid stressful times, and that for many that isn’t a problem, but notes, “it may be worthwhile to do a mini-assessment of one's reasons for purchasing and consuming alcohol.”

Can you get alcohol delivered in Georgia?

The simple answer is no. At least for now, despite people being stuck in doors, home delivery of alcohol remains illegal in Georgia. While there was an effort in the legislature to change this, the bill did not make it through both chambers before the lawmakers took a hiatus because of coronavirus.

On March 10, the Georgia House approved House Bill 879, which would allow for home delivery of beer and wine.

And while the service surely would have been of interest amid widespread self-quarantine efforts, it is stalled for the foreseeable future.

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