LINCOLN — Let the good times roll, but roll at least 6 feet apart.

Nebraskans can purchase cocktails to go of up to 1 gallon in size under the emergency order signed Thursday evening by Gov. Pete Ricketts. The governor waived current laws against such sales in an effort to help taverns and lounges shuttered by the coronavirus outbreak.

But the state liquor commission warned that such “to-go” cocktails can’t be opened in a vehicle or just outside the tavern, or the purchaser risks violations of laws banning open containers of alcohol.

That was the word from the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission, which issued guidelines on Friday for liquor outlets to comply with the governor’s executive order.

Hobert Rupe of the commission said the guidelines were loosely based on rules from the State of Louisiana, which is known for its legal, drive-thru frozen daiquiri stands.

Among the Nebraska rules:

  • Containers must be owned or provided by the retail licensee and cannot be larger than 64 ounces, which is the current limit for sales of glass jugs or “growlers” of beer.
  • Growler or “crowler” containers, now used for sales of beer, can be used for the takeout cocktails.
  • If plastic containers with lids that have holes for a straw are used, a straw cannot be inserted at the point of sale. If a straw was inserted, that could be considered an open container.
  • Retailers are encouraged to advise customers to transport the cocktails somewhere out of reach of the typical passenger, thus not in the drink holders of the vehicle.

Reporter - Regional/state issues

Paul covers state government and affiliated issues. He specializes in tax and transportation issues, following the governor and the state prison system. Follow him on Twitter @PaulHammelOWH. Phone: 402-473-9584.

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