There are more than 330 alcohol licenses in Worcester County and only three spoke during a public hearing for an extension of carryout drinks.
This lack of robust support to allow to-go drinks resulted in an easy call for the Worcester Board of License Commissioners. Couple the paltry turnout with opposition from veteran restaurateurs Shawn Harman and Greg Shockley amid public health and enforcement concerns and the 3-0 vote seems justified.
For the board to seriously consider allowing take-out drinks, severe economic hardship needed to be demonstrated. The consensus among the local business community is economic recovery is happening. There does not appear to be enough of an economic impact to trump public safety concerns about excessive drinking in public, a few overindulgent business owners not following the intent of the law and enforcement issues.
For all those who benefited, there were other sectors who were hurt by the carryout drinks perk. Retail stores were clearly impacted as customers were able to buy their margarita jugs with their Mexican fare and get their beer with their crab cake sandwiches.
It’s time to trend toward normalcy for all of society, including the restaurant industry. We support the board’s call, but agree it should be revisited should pandemic restrictions on restaurants return in the future.