The California Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control announced last week they will temporarily suspend beverage control enforcement throughout the state as a way to ease the blow to restaurants and bars amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While the suspension is in place, restaurants will now be allowed to deliver and sell to-go beer, wine and pre-mixed drinks or cocktails.
“The department has carefully considered the public’s health, safety, and welfare in providing this relief, and the Department has concluded that none of these measures, exercised on a temporary basis, will jeopardize the public’s health, safety, or welfare,” read the Notice of Regulatory Relief issued by the ABC.
According to the notice, this regulatory relief is designed to support the alcohol beverage industry in its efforts to assist California in slowing down the spread of the COVID-19 virus while assisting the industry in dealing with the economic challenges it is facing as a result.
“This is huge,” said Chris Drown, owner of the Happy Viking in Yuba City. “It’s a really nice move that helps quite a bit.”
Drown said that while the Happy Viking continues to serve its full menu for curb-side pick up and delivery, he knows that he will have to scale back to a limited menu as time goes on under the current restrictions.
“It allows us much more flexibility to do business in these really uncertain times,” said Drown.
In Marysville, Silver Dollar Saloon owner Joe Ferrie said that business has been decent since they have been doing only delivery and to-go orders and there has been a lot of interest in the pre-mixed drink sales as well.
“It provides another avenue of income, so it’s definitely good,” said Ferrie on Saturday. “How good is yet to be seen.”
According to Ferrie, all to-go alcohol purchases have to be purchased with food, placed in a secure container and be placed out of reach, or in the trunk while being transported.
“I think once people get tired of drinking their own concoctions, they’ll be more excited to buy them from the professionals again,” said Ferrie.
The temporary suspension also allows for the sale of alcohol through drive-thru windows.
According to the notice, the temporary relief from regulatory requirements is applicable to all licensees and will continue until further notice.