California Extends ABC Regulatory Relief
California Extends ABC Regulatory Relief

On June 3, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the extension of some pandemic alcohol measures designed to help restaurants and bars. The press release states: “The Administration today extended relief measures that permit restaurants and bars to continue to benefit from their investments to expand outdoor operations in areas such as sidewalks and parking lots, and to continue the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages with food deliveries, among other successful pandemic adaptations. In addition, the Administration is urging local governments to facilitate outdoor dining through local zoning and programs that support and promote expanded open-air, take-out and delivery options.”

The Notice of Regulatory Relief from the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control allows some pandemic measures, including expanded alcohol service and the sale of alcohol to-go, to continue through December 31, 2021. Other previous relief will end after the state’s June reopening. The notice states: “The Department has continued to carefully consider the public health, safety and welfare in determining if any Regulatory Relief provisions should be extended. This regulatory relief is designed to support the expanded outdoor operations of the alcoholic beverage industry to slow the spread of the virus while assisting the industry in its economic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.” 

Among other things, the regulatory relief continues to allow the expansion of licensed restaurant footprints, expanded outdoor alcohol service and the sale of alcoholic beverages to go. The notice states that these extensions “will both promote public health by encouraging outdoor dining and promote the economic recovery of the restaurant sectors by allowing restaurants and bars to benefit from the substantial investments that they have made in their outdoor operations.” Newsom also sent a letter to local government officials asking them to partner with the state and use their authority to continue to allow restaurants to provide expanded outdoor dining opportunities.

The following regulatory relief measures are extended to December 31, 2021:

  • 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

The following regulatory relief provisions will be rescinded after California’s reopening. The last day businesses can offer programs under these regulatory relief measures is 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 5
  • Pooja S. Nair
    Partner

    Pooja S. Nair is a business litigator and problem solver with a focus on the food and beverage sector. She advises food and beverage clients, startups and other businesses on a comprehensive range of issues, including employment ...

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