Regulation 719 under the Liquor Licence Act has been altered to temporarily allow licensed bars and restaurants to sell beer, wine and spirits along with food. They cannot, however, sell alcohol without a food order.
The changes are effective immediately until Dec. 31, 2020.
“These folks are hurting so badly,” Premier Doug Ford told reporters at a press conference Thursday afternoon referring to the restaurant and food industry. “They are the ones who requested home delivery. I think it’s a good idea so people don’t have to leave their homes.”
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario said all licensed liquor owners are automatically permitted to begin selling alcohol and do not need to apply, request permission or notify the AGCO.
According to the AGCO, alcohol sold for takeout or delivery must be in a sealed, unopened container. Permitted hours of sale and delivery of alcohol with food are from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The Beer Store issued a statement commending the government’s decision
“We agree that the hospitality sector requires urgent support. We fully endorse take-out and delivery services for food and liquor to Ontarians,” said Charlie Agelakos, Beer Store Board of Directors Chair. “In difficult times, all Canadians must work collaboratively towards the common good.
“The Beer Store and our 30 Ontario-based brewer owners are ready to work with the hospitality sector to implement these changes immediately. Let’s stick together and stay safe.”
Third-party delivery service platforms may provide the alcohol on behalf of the licensee, however anyone involved in the sale or delivery must have obtained their Smart Serve.
In response to those without a Smart Serve, the Ontario government under this “extraordinary circumstance” is allowing people without it to deliver alcohol as long as they obtain their Smart Serve certification by April 25, 2020.
There is no limit on the amount of alcohol that may be sold for takeout or delivery.
Alcohol cannot be sold or delivered to anyone under the age of 19 years old. Licensees must ask for ID if they suspect anyone is under the age of 19.
The alcohol takeout must be given to the person who made the order. It also cannot be given to anyone who already appears intoxicated.
Records of alcohol sales for takeout or delivery must be kept for one year.
“Everyone at the AGCO is concerned for the individuals, families, businesses and communities affected by this virus. We are working closely with the Government of Ontario to find ways of supporting Ontarians and the sectors we regulate during these challenging times,” the AGCO said.
On March 17, the Ontario government declared a state of emergency forcing all bars and restaurants across the province to close seating to the public. Restaurants can only offer delivery or takeout options for food.