Missouri lawmakers approve expanded alcohol sales

Associated Press
Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Sunday tailgaters could buy beers earlier in the morning and a pandemic allowance for carryout cocktails could become permanent under a bill passed by the Missouri Legislature. 

The bill expanding the availability of alcohol won final approval Friday in the House while some lawmakers touted it as a benefit for small businesses and the tourism industry. 

When restaurants had their indoor capacities limited during the coronavirus pandemic, the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control temporarily relaxed rules so they could sell mixed drinks to go. 

The legislation would make the policy permanent, so long as the alcoholic drinks are sold along with food and in tamper-proof, sealed containers intended to discourage drinking while driving. 

The legislation also does away with some of the remaining restrictions on Sunday alcohol sales. 

Under current law, businesses licensed to sell alcohol by the drink can do so between 6 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday but are limited to sales between 9 a.m. and midnight on Sunday. The bill would allow Sunday sales during the same hours as other days. 

Lawmakers who supported the measure cited several possible beneficiaries, including tailgaters at Kansas City Chiefs football games that kickoff off at noon.