Governor Dan McKee, joined by House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, Representative Jacquelyn Baginski, Senator Hanna Gallo, Representative Robert Craven, and Senator Frank Lombardi today ceremonially signed into law two pieces of legislation to support local restaurants.

The first piece of legislation (2021-H 5105B2021-S 0555Aaa) continues the practice of allowing alcohol to be purchased with to-go orders.

“As we continue Rhode Island’s economic recovery, we must support our small businesses and give them the flexibility they need to thrive,” said Governor McKee in a statement. “I am proud to sign these bills to support our local restaurant industry and I thank the sponsors and advocates for getting this over the finish line.”

“The restaurant and hospitality industry has been battered by the economic effects of the pandemic, and is now facing another struggle in the shape of an employee shortage. We need this industry — which includes so many treasured small businesses that make Rhode Island the special place that it is — to survive the pandemic. This simple extension of take-out drinks will help them stay afloat, bring in a little more revenue, and keep paying their employees and supporting our economy,” said Senator Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) in a statement.

“While we’re fortunate that many of the COVID restrictions for businesses have been lifted, the restaurant industry in particular continues to suffer from the devastating economic impact of the last year and a half,” said Representative Baginski (D-Dist. 17, Cranston) in a statement. “Our restaurants are in desperate need of every cent that comes their way. This legislation will help them stay on the road to recovery.”

The second piece of legislation (2021-H 5346A2021-S 0788) prevents third-party delivery services from listing a business without that business’ consent.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic saw everyone using and relying upon third-party delivery sources for food and other goods, it is important that both our small businesses and the consumer have trust in the transaction they choose to engage in. This law will ensure that the public and our small businesses know exactly who they are doing business with and it will bring transparency and fairness to the rapidly emerging technologies in our lives,” said Representative Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown) in a statement.

“I’m very proud to be the sponsor of this legislation, which was the top priority of the restaurant industry this year,” said Senator Lombardi in a statement. “The most valuable thing a restaurant — or any business — owns is its name. As any entrepreneur knows, the value of a brand cannot be overestimated.”

“As Rhode Island’s hospitality industry continues its recovery process, these two pieces of legislation are important aspects toward returning to normalcy. The Alcohol-to-Go bill will allow restaurants to continue to sell alcohol with takeout orders and the Third-Party Delivery Bill protects businesses from being listed or named without their consent. Thank you to Governor McKee, Senators Hanna Gallo and Frank Lombardi and Representatives Jacquelyn Baginski and Robert Craven for their support of our bills,” said Dale Venturini, President/CEO of RI Hospitality Association in a statement.

The bill signing took place at Chaska, a local Indian restaurant in Cranston.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.