COVID vaccine

Newly-Passed Illinois Bill Lets Bars Give a Free Drink to Vaccinated Customers

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A bill passed by Illinois lawmakers over the weekend would let bars and restaurants give out a free alcoholic drink to customers who have gotten vaccinated against COVID-19.

The so-called "shot and a beer" provision is part of a bill that also allows bars and restaurants to serve cocktails to go, a measure that served as a lifeline to struggling businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Illinois House passed Senate Bill 104 on Thursday. The Senate passed the final version of the bill Sunday, sending it to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk. Pritzker has not yet indicated whether or not he plans to sign it.

The measure allows establishments with liquor licenses to give customers a free drink if they show proof that they've gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, as part of a promotional campaign incentivizing getting vaccinated.

The measure, if signed into law, would only be valid for one month, from June 10 to July 10 of this year.

The measure was introduced earlier this year as authorities said demand for vaccinations has fallen in Illinois and nationwide, prompting health officials to expand outreach and programs to reach those who have not yet gotten their shots or may be hesitant to do so.

As of Monday, a total of 11,291,906 vaccine doses have been administered across Illinois since vaccinations began in December. State health officials also said Monday that more than 67% of all adults in Illinois have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and more than 50% are now fully vaccinated.

The new bill to incentivize the vaccine with a drink promotion wouldn't be the first time Illinois lawmakers have contemplated changes to the state's liquor laws because of the pandemic.

Last year, the statehouse passed and Pritzker signed into law a measure allowing restaurants and bars to sell mixed drinks and cocktails in to-go containers as establishments shuttered indoor dining to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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