Post COVID-19 State Of Emergency Alcoholic Beverage Licensing And Service Changes

Husch Blackwell LLP

During the height of the pandemic, most states implemented legislative changes and/or policy modifications for sales of alcoholic beverages for the duration of the state’s declared emergency. As the state of emergency orders are lifted, we are seeing most policies go back to pre-COVID licensing requirements and service restrictions, while some states are taking the opportunity to make some legislative changes and policies permanent. Some changes of note are as follows:


  • Growlers and carry out service for certain retail restaurants has been rescinded.
  • Curbside service and delivery to customers in an area adjacent to the licensed premises has been rescinded.
  • Original documents such as tax clearances are once again required and in person hearings have resumed.


  • Pre-pandemic food, seating, square footage, and health permit requirements have resumed.
  • Retail licensees permitted to sell beer/brewed beverages and/or wine for off-premises consumption must also make these products available for on-premises consumption.
  • Retail licensees are no longer permitted to sell mixed beverages and bottles of liquor to go.
  • Temporary extensions for outside seating are no longer being processed on an expedited basis, extensions granted are no longer valid and those seeking to continue outside service pursuant to extensions granted during the state of emergency must file an application for extension of premises in the ordinary course.
  • The clock on licenses in safekeeping which was paused during the state of emergency order are restarted.


  • The COVID-19 practice of allowing restaurants to continue to sell cocktails to go with a meal has been extended.
  • Nonprofit corporations or fundraisers holding banquet licenses that are authorized to sell wine in closed containers for off-premises consumption can ship wine within Virginia, if they are conducting a fundraiser through an online meeting platform.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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