During a time when going out with friends and loved ones is difficult, Illinois officials decided to make a change to some open container laws to support both the restaurant industry and its patrons.

It is important to note that the law changes do not make it legal drink while you are driving. The change is intended to accommodate those who wish to purchase alcoholic beverages from restaurants to consume at home.

Before you order a cocktail to-go, here’s what you should know about the new open container law in Illinois.

There is a time limit

The cocktail to-go law will not last forever. Many restaurants have lost business, and customers have been disappointed that their favorite locations are not available while the nation deals with closures and restrictions due to COVID-19.

Governor Pritzker and the state legislature included a time limit on the bill so that the allowances expire after one year. Once the timeframe for the bill passes, Illinois will go back to the previous open container restrictions.

Containers must be sealed

Phrases like “cocktail to-go” leave the impression that motorists may consume alcoholic beverages while driving. Drinking while driving, or, in most cases, riding, in a car, is still illegal in Illinois.

Restaurants selling alcoholic beverages during this limited time must ensure that the container is sealed and tamper-proof. When the customer (or delivery driver) leaves with the container, it is their responsibility to store the container in the vehicle’s trunk, out of reach of the driver.

Before you decide to pick up cocktails from your favorite restaurant, make sure you review the rules and requirements for transporting these beverages.