The California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is getting ready to make special COVID-only regulations to allow bars and restaurants to reopen.
They have already suspended enforcement of the following legal prohibitions on a temporary basis:
- Returns of Alcoholic Beverages
- Retail-to-Retail Transactions
- Extension of Credit
- On-Sale Retailers Exercising Off-Sale Privileges
- Sales of Alcoholic Beverages To-Go
- Drive-Thru Windows for Off-Sale Transactions
- Hours of Operations for Retail Sales
- Deliveries to Consumers
- Free Delivery
- Delivery Hours Extended to Midnight
- Charitable Promotions and Sales
- Distilled Spirits Manufacturers Providing High-Proof Spirits for Disinfection Purposes
- Virtual Wine Tastings
And now, comes the interesting things. They will be issuing temporary permits to allow retailers to sell and allow patrons to consume alcohol in their own parking lots– and in some cases, beyond. Currently, the parking lots are not licensed for serving, sale, or consumption. This would change under the proposed new rules, allowing all in expanded areas under the control of the licensee include, but are not limited to:
- Indoor areas that are accessible from within the licensed premises but not currently licensed;
- Outdoor areas that are accessible from the licensed premises but not currently licensed;
- Indoor and outdoor areas under the control of the licensee and one or more other businesses;
- Parking lots;
- Sidewalks and other public thoroughfares that are closed to public access during the period of service;
- Other areas within close proximity to the licensed premises that are immediately accessible to the licensee, and that are secured by and under the control of the licensee, at the discretion of the Department.
Yes, this means that parking lots, patios, boat docks, and even adjoining sidewalks and public streets (assuming local city approval) are available for commercial use with alcohol, assuming the ABC approves the licenses.
The licences will be available sometime “early next week”, according to the ABC, will cost $100 for a permit fee, and will require the merchants to submit the following:
- A diagram of the currently licensed premises and the proposed temporary area, clearly delineating the respective spaces;
- An explanation of the licensee’s legal ability to control the proposed temporary area (e.g., the licensee owns or rents the area, the local governing authority has authorized the licensee to use the area for the service of meals and alcoholic beverages, or the licensee has another type of permission to use it);
- What temporary or fixed barriers or delineations will be utilized that will enable the licensee to control the temporary area;
- Whether the temporary area will be shared with any other person, whether or not a licensee, and whether any other licensee will be permitting the consumption of alcohol in the area;
- A statement that a copy of the application has been forwarded to the appropriate local law enforcement agency;
- A statement by the licensee that the temporary authorization is consistent with the terms herein, as well as all state and local directives regarding the operation of an on-site food service; and
- A non-refundable application fee of $100.
The authorization may be cancelled by the ABC if any of the following conditions are met:
- Upon the termination of this COVID-19 Temporary Catering Authorization program;
- For any violation of the ABC Act, or for violation of applicable laws, rules, ordinances, and other directives pertaining to business activities conducted on the premises and expanded area;
- For disturbance of the quiet enjoyment of nearby residents;
- Upon objection by local law enforcement;
- If operation of the temporarily authorized area is inconsistent with State or local public health directives, including social distancing directives or guidance; or
- If in the discretion of the Department continuance of the temporary authorization will negatively impact the public’s health, safety, or welfare.