Alcoholic beverages may now be purchased to-go. Yep, you read that right.
The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has temporarily suspended enforcement of several laws related to the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages. This regulatory relief is designed to assist the alcoholic beverage industry and affiliated restaurants in their efforts in dealing with the economic challenges as a result of COVID-19.
According to the Department’s website, it has carefully considered the public’s health, safety, and welfare in providing this relief. ABC has concluded that none of these measures, exercised on a temporary basis, will jeopardize the public. The temporary relief from the regulatory requirements is applicable to all Department licensees and will continue until further notice.
Sales of Alcoholic Beverages To Go
Restaurants selling beer, wine, and pre-mixed drinks or cocktails for consumption off the licensed premises may do so when sold in conjunction with meals prepared for pick-up or delivery. Any such alcoholic beverages must be packaged in a container with a secure lid or cap and in a manner designed to prevent consumption without removal of the lid or cap (e.g., no lids with sipping holes or openings for straws).
A stipulation of these sales is that any licensee selling such beverages for off-site consumption shall prominently post the following warning in a manner that puts consumers on notice of limitations regarding open container laws:
Alcoholic beverages that are packaged by this establishment are open containers and may not be transported in a motor vehicle except in the vehicle’s trunk; or, if there is no trunk, the container may be kept in some other area of the vehicle that is not normally occupied by the driver or passengers (which does not include a utility compartment or glove compartment (Vehicle Code Section 23225)). Further, such beverages may not be consumed in public or in any other area where open containers are prohibited by law.
“Post” means to prominently display on the premises, post online, or present in whatever manner is necessary to ensure that the consumer purchasing, or delivery person transporting, such beverages is given notice of this warning.
Transactions at Drive-Thru Windows
The Department is suspending any conditions on licenses that prohibit licensees from making sales and deliveries of alcoholic beverages to persons in a motor vehicle or to persons outside the licensed premises through a pass-out window or a slide-out tray to the exterior of the premises.
Hours of Operation for Retail Sales
State law prohibits retailers from selling alcoholic beverages between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
But some licensees also have conditions on their licenses that further restrict the hours of sales and service that require them to close before 2:00 a.m. or open after 6:00 a.m. The Department suspends enforcement of any license condition restricting the hours of sales and service for licensees exercising off-sale privileges consistent with this Notice of Relief.
The Department will continue to enforce the 2:00 a.m.to 6:00 a.m. prohibition.
Termination of Relief
The relief provided by this notice is temporary and may be withdrawn by the Department at any time. The Department intends to provide a 10-day notice of the termination of any such relief, although such relief may be withdrawn immediately should the needs of public safety dictate. In addition, licensees are directed to use the relief provided by this notice responsibly without compromising the public’s health, safety, or welfare. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the Department determines that any licensee is found to be abusing the relief provided by this notice, or if the licensee’s actions jeopardize public health, safety, or welfare, the Department may summarily rescind the relief as to that licensee at any time.
For more information about the ABC relief efforts, as well as other restrictions that are being waived temporarily, go here.