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Food and Drink Top News

California Will Continue Permitting To-Go Cocktails… For Now

By Jamie Ferrell

California Will Continue Permitting To-Go Cocktails… For Now

Newsom has announced a comeback plan for restaurants and bars.

The pandemic has been a rough trip for all of us, but restaurants and bars suffered immensely this past year thanks to constantly-changing restrictions on dining, unprecedented health precautions, and capacity limits. As more and more Californians become vaccinated, we’re seeing a new boost in restaurant business, but there’s still a long way to go to dig many small businesses out of the pandemic’s financial hole.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced yesterday that plans are underway for government aid to restaurants and bars. Some of these plans allow for pandemic-related allowances to continue even after the state’s reopening June 15, most notably the allowance for to-go cocktails and outdoor dining expansions. Newsom tweeted yesterday, “The pandemic may be going away, but your to-go cocktails don’t have to!”


According to a press release, the Administration will allow restaurants to continue “successful pandemic adaptations,” as well as promote take-out and delivery options. Many have enjoyed the expanded parklets and outdoor seating, which was originally supposed to be temporary, and bars and restaurants are likely to benefit greatly from these changes as we go into the summer.

That being said, California’s Alcoholic Beverage Control has clarified that this regulatory relief is only good through the end of the year. That is, temporary provisions meant to boost business in the industry will terminate on December 31, 2021.  They are the following:

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  • On-Sale Retailers Exercising Off-Sale Privileges
  • Sales of Alcoholic Beverages To-Go
  • Deliveries to Consumers
  • Free Delivery
  • Expansion of Licensed Footprint
  • On-Sale Licensees without Kitchen Facilities
  • “Virtual” Meet the Winemaker or Brewer Dinners
  • Renewal of Relief for Charitable Promotions and Sales
  • Relief from Type-75 Requirement to Produce 100 Barrels of Beer Annually

Additionally, a number of provisions currently in place will be rescinded on June 30, 2021:

  • Returns of Alcoholic Beverages
  • Retail-to-Retail Transactions
  • Extension of Credit
  • Drive-Thru Windows for Off-Sale Transactions
  • Hours of Operations for Retail Sales
  • Delivery Hours Extended to Midnight
  • Distilled Spirits Manufacturers Providing High-Proof Spirits for Disinfection Purposes
  • Virtual Wine Tastings
  • Extension of Regulatory Relief for Club Licenses: Type 50, 51 and 52

“California’s restaurants help create the vibrant and diverse communities that make California the envy of the world. As the state turns to post-pandemic life, we’ll continue to adapt best practices that have helped businesses transform customer experience for the better,” said Governor Newsom yesterday outside of Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in SF. “With new opportunities and support for businesses large and small, and the California can-do spirit that has carried us through the past year, we will come roaring back from this pandemic.

“Today’s actions by Governor Newsom are critical – as they contain some of the most successful elements of emergency pandemic relief – and makes them stick for the longer term as we know that expanded outdoor dining is essential for paving the way towards a restaurant recovery,” said California Restaurant Association CEO and President Jot Condie. “These actions will be incredibly valuable for so many neighborhood restaurants throughout the state.”

 

Featured image: @lamarsf via Instagram