COVID-19 Legal Update: Alcohol Deliveries and To-Go Orders for Washington Retailers

Stoel Rives LLP

Stoel Rives LLP

Today, 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. Restaurants will be allowed to provide take-out and delivery services, but no in-person dining will be permitted until the end of March, at the earliest. In this alert Stoel Rives’ beverage attorneys explain how Washington retailers can sell alcoholic beverages “to-go” with or without food orders.

Restaurant and Bar To-Go Sales

The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board (“WSLCB”) has an Off-Premises Sales liquor license endorsement for holders of a Tavern License or a Beer/Wine Restaurant License that allows for the following types of to-go sales for off-premises consumption:

  1. beer, wine, and cider in original containers,
  2. growler sales of tap beer, cider and/or mead, and
  3. keg sales of beer.

Holders of Spirits/Beer/Wine Restaurant or Spirits/Beer/Wine Private Club Licenses are also eligible to apply for an Off-Premises Sales liquor license endorsement; however, these licensees are only allowed to sell unopened bottles of wine and cider to go to consumers for off-premises consumption under the endorsement. Spirits/Beer/Wine Restaurants Licensees can separately apply for a Kegs to Go endorsement that allows kegs of beer and growlers of tap beer, cider and/or mead to be sold to-go.

If you hold the Off-Premises Sales endorsement already, then you can start making to-go sales of beer, wine, and cider (as applicable) today. If you do not hold the Off-Premises Sales endorsement, an application can be submitted electronically through your business’ MyDOR account, on paper using the application available here, or by contacting a Stoel Rives beverage attorney. The state’s license fee to add the endorsement is $120.

Under either Off-Premises Sales endorsement discussed above, orders that include either beer, wine, or cider (where allowed) can be accepted from customers over the age of 21 by phone and can be picked up by the customer inside the store.

Internet Sales of Alcohol

In addition to making to go sales, holders of a Tavern License or a Beer/Wine Restaurant License are allowed to make internet sales and deliveries of beer, wine, or cider (including through food delivery apps) under their Off-Premises Sales endorsement after notifying the WSLCB of the desire to engage in internet sales. Similarly, off-premises retailers like grocery stores, liquor stores, and bottle shops are eligible to engage in internet sales and deliveries of alcohol after notifying the WSLCB of the desire to engage in such sales.

If you’re thinking about taking sales over the internet and making deliveries, keep the following in mind:

  • Deliveries must come directly from the licensed retail premises.
  • Alcohol must be factory sealed in bottles, cans or other like packaging.
  • 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 before handing over beer or wine 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

Licensed grocery stores are 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.

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Stoel Rives LLP

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