In response to Governor Cuomo’s order, the New York State Liquor Authority (“NYSLA”) issued restrictions to licensees with respect to the COVID-19 outbreak, effective Monday, March 16, 2020 at 8:00 PM ET. Per the NYSLA, all licensed on-premises establishments (including restaurants, bars, taverns, clubs, arenas, catering establishments, etc.) must stop on-premises sales of alcohol beverages and/or food. This includes NYSLA-licensed manufacturers who have on-premises privileges (such as a winery with a tasting room or a brewery with a tap room). A NYSLA-licensed manufacturer may continue its manufacturing operations. The restriction is in place until April 15, 2020 but may be extended or reduced dependent upon any further developments.

The Governor asked NYSLA to promulgate a guidance with respect to new off-premises privileges for licensed businesses with on-premises privileges. The NYSLA provided the following:

  1. Any on-premises licensee and any manufacturing licensee that has on-premises retail privileges may sell, for off-premises consumption, any alcohol beverage that the licensee is permitted to sell for on-premises consumption under the New York Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. (Check the New York Alcoholic Beverage Control Law for more information about what your establishment’s license permits.)
    1. NYSLA offered the following example: A tavern wine licensee may sell beer, wine, cider, mead, and wine product, but not liquor, and a farm winery may sell any New York State-labeled wine, beer, cider, mead, or liquor, but not non-New York State products unless it has an on-premises license as well.
  2.  Alcohol beverage sold for off-premises consumption under NYSLA’s COVID-19 guidance may be sold in “any closed and sealed original container of any size.” (Double check federal regulations to ensure your container sizes or standards of fill comply with federal regulations, if applicable.) However, NYSLA requires that (1) each container be accompanied by the purchase of food; and (2) sales should be consistent with municipal open container ordinances
  3. Alcohol beverages sold for off-premises consumption under NYSLA’s COVID-19 guidance may be sold for takeout from the licensed premises or may be delivered to customer’s residence.
    1. Deliveries, however, shall be made in a vehicle that is permitted by the NYSLA (such as a third-party delivery service) or a vehicle that is owned, operated, or hired and operated by the licensee or its employee. A copy of the permit or license is required to be present in the vehicle if alcohol is delivered.
  4. Alcohol beverages that are sold for off-premises consumption under NYSLA’s COVID-19 guidance may be sold only during on-premises hours of operation of the county where the licensed premises is located. If the hours are different, the hours of operation that are set forth in the licensee’s method of operation that are on file with NYSLA.

NYSLA went on to say that any licensed business under NYSLA’s jurisdiction found to be operating in violation of Governor Cuomo’s order restricting on-premises sales of alcohol beverages shall face a monetary penalty (maximum of $10,000.00 for retailers and $100,000.00 for manufacturers) and/or suspension, cancellation, or revocation of its license.

Please note that the above restrictions and guidance only apply to licensees who have obtained a license under the NYSLA.

For more information on New York State Alcohol Beverage Law, wine or alcohol law, please contact Lindsey Zahn.

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is for general information purposes only, is not intended to constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice.