SACRAMENTO – Getting an alcoholic beverage to-go just got easier thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
Late Friday, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced that bars, wineries, distilleries and breweries that do not have their own kitchens but that partner with meal providers will be able to sell alcoholic beverages to-go. There are, however, a couple of conditions – drinks must be in a sealed container and accompany a meal.
The agency’s so-called “fifth notice of regulatory relief” is part of an overall effort to temporarily relax regulations and help more than 50,000 small and large businesses facing coronavirus-induced economic challenges, the agency said in a news release.
In its first notice, the agency on March 19 gave restaurants the green light to sell and deliver prepared drinks and pre-mixed cocktails in to-go containers in conjunction with meals made on-site. The decision allowed them to keep their operations going during a time when they were asked to remain closed to inside dining, the agency said.
The agency said it has since received numerous requests to extend the same “to-go relief” to kitchen-less bars, wineries, distilleries and breweries.
“We know businesses have suffered as they continue fighting to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said ABC Director Jacob Appelsmith. “We have heard directly from these businesses that the notices of regulatory relief can give them a boost and help bring more people back to work.”
Last week, the agency allowed thousands of its licensees to use parking lots, patios and even sidewalks to spread out patrons and provide more area for social distancing.
The agency has also authorized virtual wine tasting to help California’s 6,300-plus wineries, free delivery of alcohol to consumers and distilleries to make hand sanitizers and disinfectants as long as they are cleared through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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Author: Jason Green