JEFFERSON CITY — Public safety officials in Missouri are requesting Governor Mike Parson and legislature for more agents to help with a new to-go cocktail law.

The bill was approved by lawmakers this spring and went into effect on Aug. 28,  making to-go cocktails permanent. The idea was originally put in place last year as a temporary solution to a large decrease in business for restaurants caused by COVID-19.

This request for more agents is included in the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) budget proposal for the fiscal year, which begins in July 2022. The budget calls for $519,000 to go toward the request, which will be divided into a few categories.

According to the budget proposal, there is a request for four agents.

"We are requesting a minimal four agents (one per district office)," the request says. "ATC is implementing routine inspections on liquor licenses, providing much needed training. These additional agents are needed to ensure that this new provision is being performed in a safe and responsible manner for Missouri residents."

According to the ATC, about $204,000 of the money would cover each agent's salary. The other $315,000 covers the motorized equipment, supplies and travel expenses for each agent. 

The current ratio of approved agents to licensees in Missouri is 1 to 1,100. With the current request, the ratio would shrink from 1 to 855.

The new law requires each drink to be provided in containers that are "durable, leakproof and sealable," in order to discourage those who use the service from drinking while driving. Food must also be served with the drink. 

The new law also increased the hours that liquor can be sold on Sundays. Originally liquor could be sold from 9 a.m. to midnight, but the new hours are from 6 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Monday. The hours for the rest of the week were left untouched in the new legislation.

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