Restaurant curbside sale of alcohol popular with businesses

GILLETTE — For at least the next two weeks, Gillette restaurants can offer residents up to 48 ounces of beer or a bottle of wine with their next curbside food purchase, which is good news to some restaurant employees.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon mandated that restaurants shut their doors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but he allowed them to offer curbside and pick-up services. And now, thanks to a late Monday executive order, he is allowing those restaurants with liquor licenses the ability to sell alcohol.

It in effect until April 17.

“I’m pretty happy about that,” said The Railyard general manager Trey McConnell. “It gives us another lifeline of revenue. It’s not a bad deal for us.”

The Railyard started adding the alcohol to the menu on curbside and pick-up orders on Tuesday.

Some of the executive order’s conditions include restricting alcohol sales to 49% or less of the order (in order words, someone could not just order a burger and an expensive bottle of wine); drinks need to be sold in their original packaging and at menu prices.

Businesses have to do what they need to do to get through the tough times because it’s not just COVID-19 people are dealing with, business owners said. The energy industry is taking a “big old hit,” Pokey’s Bar and Grill owner Ric Schuyler said.

“We’ve got to let people do what they need to keep operating,” he said, adding that nobody should be angry about it.

Pokey’s has a retail liquor license, which allows for a business to sell alcohol for on- and/or off-premise consumption.

“We’ve sold some, not a lot,” Schuyler said about the sale of alcohol since the restrictions were set in mid-March.

The governor’s mandate does not affect any open container laws because the alcohol needs to be in its original packaging, Police Lt. Brent Wasson said.

Wasson said he has spoken with restaurant owners interested in selling beer and wine at their curbsides and will continue to do so.

“I don’t see it being a concern, (but) it’s definitely something we will monitor,” he said.

The governor’s decision to allow for the curbside sale of alcohol will provide a boost as restaurants continue to truck on despite the economic uncertainty.

“We’re hanging on. We’re doing the best we can,” McConnell said.

For lunch, residents are ordering burgers and sandwiches. In the evening, it’s steaks and pastas. The Railyard has changed its hours to 2-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday for takeout and delivery.

Pokey’s has had cancellations for its catering services, and to try and make ends meet, it is offering items like ground beef for $25 for a 5-pound pack, hamburger buns at $3 per eight-pack, and dry yeast for $16 for a one-pound block in addition to its regular menu.

“We’re just swapping nickels with that,” Schuyler said. “I’m keeping some people working, which is a good thing. We’re just trying to survive this and provide something else for the community.”