LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska restaurants can now offer carry-out alcohol permanently under a new state law inspired by Gov. Pete Ricketts' efforts to help struggling businesses during the pandemic.

Ricketts announced Wednesday that he signed the measure into law. It went into effect immediately.

The governor issued an executive order to allow carry-out alcohol in March 2020 to aid restaurants that were struggling financially because of the pandemic and mandatory social distancing restrictions.

The order proved popular with the public, and some restaurants reported that it had helped their sales. Ricketts said the order showed that the previous restriction on carry-out alcohol was unnecessary.

The law applies to restaurants and farm wineries with the proper liquor licenses. To-go alcohol must be sold in a sealed, tamper-evident container and not partially consumed.

Lawmakers approved the measure, 45-0.