Amid the economic turmoil brought on by the pandemic, which hit bars and restaurants particularly hard, authorities in California rolled out a crowd-pleasing salve to help businesses stay afloat: the (temporary) legalization of to-go alcoholic drinks.

Prior to the pandemic, many local authorities had banned bars and restaurants from selling liquor to-go with only a handful of exceptions, including in New Orleans, which is well-known for uniquely allowing drive-through alcohol, including frozen daiquiri stands; and Clark County, Nev., which includes the iconic Las Vegas Strip, where you can publicly drink if you so please.

Since the temporary legalization of alcohol to-go during the pandemic, a handful of states have made these regulations permanent. So, as many other states debate whether to pass similar laws, one might assume that they would be a shoo-in. Not so, according to a survey of 3,704 people by Laguna Treatment Hospital who quizzed respondents on their opinions regarding the legalization of to-go alcohol. 

The survey revealed that almost half of Californians (47 percent) support the idea of lawmakers permanently legalizing alcohol drinks to-go in their state. A temporary law enacted last year by Gov. Gavin Newsom allows California bars and restaurants to serve to-go alcoholic beverages to customers until the end of 2026. 

Those against loosening current laws think that they will lead to a significant increase in public health problems. Over 1 in 3 (38 percent) thought this to be the case. Indeed, alcohol is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the US.

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