Illinois could soon allow bars to give free beer to vaccinated people

Illinois Capitol News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Many Americans started drinking more alcohol during the pandemic. Soon, they could drink their way out of the pandemic.

A new bill filed in the Illinois House on Tuesday would allow bars and restaurants to provide a free alcoholic beverage to people who show proof of their vaccination status. The proposal is designed to help people overcome vaccine hesitancy at a time when the rate of vaccinations has slowed in the state.

The “Shot and a Beer” bill would relax state regulations to assure bar owners they would not run afoul of the Liquor Control Commission for offering free liquor to patrons as a way to promote vaccinations. It would not use any state funds to reimburse bars for the booze.

“Under Illinois law, you’re only allowed to do free beer or free drinks under very specific circumstances,” Rep. Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside) said.

The state also allowed restaurants and bars to sell “cocktails-to-go” during the pandemic as a way to survive the economic struggles of the stay-at-home orders.

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