In response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and in keeping with the sweeping changes to modernize Oklahoma’s liquor laws effective in October 2018, the ABLE Commission temporarily authorized curbside and delivery of beer, wine and spirits by liquor stores, beer and wine by grocery and convenience stores, and by restaurants holding the appropriate licenses.
The passage of Senate Bill 1928 in the last days of the session, which became law this week, effectively made the ABLE Commission’s previous directives about curbside sales and delivery of alcohol permanent. The key changes to the alcohol laws now expand sales for ABLE licensees effective immediately under the following conditions:
- Liquor stores can sell beer, wine and spirits in sealed, original containers via curbside and delivery.
- Grocery and convenience stores can sell beer and wine (up to 15% alcohol by volume) in sealed, original containers via curbside and delivery.
- Restaurants, bars and clubs can sell beer and wine in closed packages via curbside and delivery.
- Small brewers and small farm wineries may sell curbside-only alcoholic beverages produced by the brewery or winery in sealed, original containers.
- Payment can be made by cash, check, transportable credit card devices and advance online payment methods.
- Curbside sales and all deliveries must be made by ABLE-licensed and trained employees of the business.
- No third-party services can be used for any deliveries.
Some states already permit third-party delivery sales from liquor stores, as well as drive-thru and to-go sales of alcoholic beverages from restaurants. As a result of restaurant dining closures and the need for social distancing, several more states are, at least temporarily, expanding alcohol delivery options and sales of cocktails to-go. The Oklahoma legislature was not willing to go that far.
Nevertheless, the actions taken by the ABLE Commission since March, and the bills passed with overwhelming majorities by the Oklahoma House and Senate this session, are continuing advances in the modernization of Oklahoma’s liquor laws.
It is hard to believe that less than two years ago, Oklahoma still had dry counties and only 3.2 beer in grocery and convenience stores. We have come a long way and there is no telling where the trail will end. Cheers!
For more information on this alert and its impact on your business, please contact:
Ellen Keough Spiropoulos is an Of Counsel attorney at Phillips Murrah who assists local and national businesses in the restaurant, entertainment and hospitality industries with obtaining applicable operating licenses and permits for food and alcoholic beverage service, as well as any related compliance or enforcement issues. Contact her by phone, 405.552.2422 or by email.
Justin G. Bates is a litigation attorney who represents individuals and both privately-held and public companies in a wide range of civil litigation matters. Contact him by phone, 405.552.2471 or by email.
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