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Extension, Permanence of COVID-19 Alcohol Delivery Ordinances Blurred by State Lines

Traditional channels for obtaining alcoholic beverages continue to stretch as states across the country make moves to extend or cast in permanence emergency orders that permitted alcohol delivery during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Fueling continuation is well-being and longevity of the lifeline that sustained not only restaurants, but bars and retail outlets as well, during the nationwide shutdown.


Permanent Measures

Texas made a big splash in May when government officials, including Gov. Abbott, wasted no time propelling an emergency order for alcohol delivery into permanence. With proper licensing, businesses in the Lone Star State can now make deliveries, as can home-delivery darlings, such as Favor, Patriot and Door Dash.1 In Mississippi, licensed third-party services can also complete alcohol delivery orders, as can permitted retail outlets and restaurants, but the delivery radius is limited to within 30-miles of a business’ location. Customers who place the order must be prepared to provide proof of age up front and again upon delivery via ID-scanning software technology or an alternative. Purveyors in the state looking to capitalize on the never-before opportunity are employing digital technology for direct-to-consumer alcohol purchases.2 And just across the state line into Alabama, alcohol delivery kicks into permanence in October, but not without residents there getting the unique opportunity to weigh in on proposed actions. Already specified within the legislation is that businesses intending to make light of the opportunity must design a mandatory training program for employees completing delivery orders.3


Temporary Provisions

Previously stamped to expire, alcohol delivery from restaurants in Colorado is now extended until July 2025. The four-year extension comes with specific regulations, including beverage quantity limitations and specified time-windows of purchase.4 Illinois also enacted an extension and will allow restaurants to continue alcohol delivery until January 2024; the extension includes single-serve containers of wine.Unlike permanent legislation in Texas and Mississippi, under Illinois state law, restaurants cannot use third-party services to deliver cocktails or single-servings of wine. 5 A 2-year extension of alcohol delivery in Washington State brings with it a contingency for permanence: results of a study laser-focused on the effects of to-go alcohol, including its impact on underage drinking and alcohol-related health or traffic incidents. The current extension applies to restaurants; breweries, wineries and distilleries; and caterers, snack bars and nonprofit arts businesses, that hold liquor licenses.6


Pre-Pandemic Return

New York establishes neither permanence nor extension as emergency statues, including alcohol delivery, ceased in late-June and the state returned to pre-pandemic guidelines.7


Alcohol delivery is anything but static across state lines. To make sense of permanent or extended guidelines where your brand operates, partner with The BARS Program. We’ll work in tandem to make sense of governances in your area, and to establish relevant and highly-effective compliance training protocols for your employees. Learn more about BARS at or by calling 1-877-540-5500.


1 Texas Restaurant Association, 09/2021; Alcohol Delivery is Legal

2 The Daily Mississippian, 06/23/2021; Alcohol delivery available July 1st in Mississippi

3, 07/02/2021; Alabama ABC Board collecting public feedback for proposed actions under new alcohol laws

4 The Denver Post, 06/22/2021; Alcohol takeout, delivery sticking around Colorado for another 4 years

5 Star Journal, 06/01/2021; Illinois extends cocktail-to-go sales, adds wine to approved carryout
6 The News Tribune, 04/20/2021; Cocktails to-go, alcohol delivery to continue in Washington state through 2023

7 PIX 11, 06/23/2021; NY ending alcohol to-go, delivery as more COVID restrictions lift

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