SPRINGFIELD — Illinois restaurants and bars can serve cocktails to go Tuesday after Gov. JB Pritzker signed an initiative designed by lawmakers to provide establishments with financial relief in the wake of COVID-19 challenges.

Those businesses are “some of the hardest hit” by the public health emergency, the governor said in a press release after signing the bill into law.

“This legislation will provide these businesses with a critical tool to bring in additional income until they can safely and fully reopen their doors once more,” he added.

Chicago Democratic Sen. Sara Feigenholtz sponsored the initiative in her chamber. She said Illinois is one of 34 other states to have such “a survival tool” on the books.

Alcoholic beverages are available for customers only in pick-up and delivery orders, and must be served in a sealed container with a tamper-proof lid, according to the law. Drivers delivering mixed drinks must store them in a trunk or other compartment inaccessible to them while operating the motor vehicle.

Those working for third-party delivery services, including DoorDash and GrubHub, cannot bring residents the cocktails to go.

The law, set to expire one year from Tuesday, additionally postpones late fees and liquor license fees for restaurants and bars. It also authorizes a license extension for any establishment that suffered business interruptions due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Cocktails to go is a small but important initiative designed to help our hospitality industry get back on its feet after COVID-19,” Democratic Rep. Michael Zalewski, from Riverside, said in a written statement.

House Bill 2682 was sent to the governor by the General Assembly on May 29 after passing both chambers on a bipartisan basis near-unanimously six days earlier.

It was introduced over a year ago as legislation creating three aviation-related government funds. The same day representatives and senators concluded their special session, Feigenholtz proposed an amendment gutting and replacing that original language with the bill that legalizes cocktails-to-go.

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