MASON CITY, Iowa - It's been about two weeks since bars in the Hawkeye state were allowed to reopen and they're still trying to bring customers back in the doors.
During the pandemic, restaurants offered liquor to-go and it could soon be commonplace as lawmakers hope to make those cash registers ring once again. The Iowa legislature passed a bill that would allow alcohol, including mixed drinks, to be taken to-go out of bars and restaurants.
"We were actually required to close for the full time just until about two weeks ago," said Tammy Ransom.
There's no doubt Ransom is thrilled to start pouring the brews once again, but she's even happier with the lawmakers' decision to extend liquor to-go.
"We are definitely in favor of it," she said.
Ransom owns the oldest bar in Mason City, Ransom's Pleazol. She thinks the bill would help level the playing field when it comes to competing with convenience and liquor stores.
"People can walk into a gas station and get liquor in a can to go, they can walk in and get the one and a half ounce airplane bottles to go anywhere, so we pay for the liquor license and everything else so in my opinion, there really no reason not to," Ransom said.
Some Iowa legislators raised concerns about minors possibly having easier access to alcohol with this bill. It's something Ransom doesn't see as a huge risk.
"I don't think it's going to be any more of a big deal than it is for them to ask somebody to buy them beer."
Around town, folks are weighing in on the new freedom. Maria Deike thinks it could be a good moneymaker for bars, as long as thirsty patrons know their limits.
"We're getting very creative to keep these businesses up and running and that's really important and I think they're actually putting a little more responsibility on the customers themselves to trust them that they will be the responsible adults," said Deike.