ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — If you could use a drink, the Howard County Board of License Commissioners unanimously voted on July 14 to extend alcoholic beverage and carry out programs for the next two years, the Howard County Council said Wednesday.

Both consumers and residents wanted the programs to continue, said Councilman David Yungmann, who is also chairman of the liquor board.

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The alcohol to-go and delivery programs were created last year through Gov, Larry Hogan’s state of emergency as a way for restaurants and bars to generate income during COVID-19-related closures and seating capacity restrictions. Some provisions would expire under state law in two years, but the carryout provision would be permanent for Class B restaurants and hotels pursuant to a bill the Howard County delegation approved, according to a council statement.

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The updated rules are on the council website.

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“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen our businesses adapt and shift on a dime to make their services safer and more accessible,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said in the statement. “Businesses in Howard County approached the temporary changes responsibly and we’re pleased that this permanent change will provide additional opportunities for restaurants and other establishments to thrive.”

CBS Baltimore Staff