Alcohol Deliveries and To-Go Orders for Washington Retailers (Updated March 26, 2020)

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Originally posted on March 16, 2020. This Stoel Rives Client Alert has been updated with new guidance issued by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (“WSLCB”) on March 24th, 2020.

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COVID-19 Resource Hub

On Monday, March 16th, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee issued a statewide emergency proclamation to order a temporary statewide closure of all on-site food or beverage services including restaurants, bars and entertainment and recreational facilities. That proclamation was later followed by Governor Inslee’s March 23rd, 2020 Stay Home – Stay Healthy order requiring all people in Washington State to stay home unless conducting essential activities until midnight on April 6, 2020 at the earliest. During this time, restaurants are still allowed to provide take-out and delivery services, but in-person dining remains prohibited.

Following the Governor’s most recent order, on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020, the WSLCB took extraordinary measures to expand the curbside service and delivery options available to Washington restaurants. In this alert Stoel Rives’ beverage attorneys discuss the key takeaways from the WSLCB’s latest guidance and how Washington retailers can sell alcoholic beverages “to-go” right now.

Curbside Service and Deliveries for Restaurants and Bars

In a major development this week, licensed Washington restaurants, taverns, and bars are now authorized to start offering curbside service and making to-go sales and deliveries that include alcohol whether they have to-go sales privileges or not. Per WSLCB’s guidance this week, effective immediately, restaurants no longer need to apply for an off-premises sales endorsement on their liquor license or request permission from the agency to make deliveries that include alcohol. This policy is, of course, temporary and will remain in effect for the duration of Governor Inslee’s order banning on-premises dining. Here’s what this means for your business.

Holders of Tavern Licenses or Beer/Wine Restaurant Licenses may sell, deliver, and/or offer curbside pickup for the following items:

  1. beer, wine, and cider in factory sealed containers,
  2. growler of tap beer, cider and/or mead, and
  3. kegs of beer.

Holders of Spirits/Beer/Wine Restaurant Licenses may sell, deliver, and/or offer curbside pickup for the following items:

  1. growlers, kegs, or factory sealed bottles and cans of beer,
  2. wine in factory sealed bottles, and
  3. spirits in factory sealed bottles.

Spirits/Beer/Wine Restaurants licensees should take note that deliveries or curbside sales that include bottles of spirits must include the purchase of food. In other words, no to-go sales of bottles of spirits unless the customer’s order also includes a meal or other food items.

If you’re thinking about taking sales over the internet and making deliveries, we encourage you to contact a Stoel Rives beverage attorney and keep the following in mind:

  • Deliveries must come directly from the licensed retail premises.
  • Deliveries may only be made to an address recognized by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Deliveries can be made every day between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m., and must be fully completed by 2:00 a.m.
  • A delivery person must verify the age of the person accepting delivery of the alcohol and cannot deliver to any person who shows signs of intoxication.
  • Retailers must keep adequate records of alcohol deliveries.
  • A private carrier making deliveries on your behalf must obtain the signature of the person receiving the alcohol delivery.

Curbside Grocery Service

Like restaurants, licensed Washington grocery stores are also allowed to provide curbside service to customers who order groceries online. The store may designate pickup areas outside of the grocery store where customers can have their groceries brought to them. Here is what you need to know if a customer’s online order includes alcohol:

  • Alcohol orders cannot be provided through a drive-through or pass-through window.
  • Orders that include alcohol must include at least $25 of nonalcohol items.
  • Orders must be delivered by a grocery store employee to a vehicle parked in the designated pickup area.
  • Employees delivering orders to the customer’s vehicle must be at least 18 years of age and be trained on verifying ID, recognizing signs of intoxication, and preventing youth access.

If you have any questions about alcohol sales or deliveries, please contact us.

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For more information regarding the legal impacts of the novel coronavirus, please refer to the Stoel Rives Coronavirus Resource Center.

Key Contributors

Susan M. Johnson
Stephanie J. Meier
Claire Mitchell
Craig A. Pacheco
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