Alex Degman -- Illinois Radio Network

For the first time since the 1980s, happy hours are now legal in Illinois.

Businesses can now offer discounted food and drink specials at certain times of day following the governor’s signature Wednesday. But Sam Toia, President and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association, says this doesn’t give establishments free reign to do whatever they want.

“We’re maintaining prohibition on two-for-one sales of alcoholic drinks,” Toia says. “We’re maintaining prohibition on increasing the volume of alcohol in the drink without proportionally increasing the price, drinks cannot be discounted for more than four hours a day and not more than 15 hours per week.”

The practice was outlawed in the 80s due to concerns over excessive drinking. Happy hours can start at 4, but must end before 10 – and they have to be advertised at least a week in advance.

The law took effect immediately, happy hours can begin as early as next week.

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