Governor Allows Restaurants To Offer Carryout, Delivery Alcohol

Governor Allows Restaurants To Offer Carryout, Delivery Alcohol
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BERLIN — With many restaurants and bars in the area hoping to augment carryout food sales with the carryout sale or delivery of alcoholic beverages, the rules have been relaxed somewhat although many restrictions remain in place.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday issued an executive order allowing certain restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries and other entities holding a state or local license to manufacture or sell alcoholic beverages to offer beer, wine or liquor for carryout or delivery during the length of the declared state of emergency. The news is good for many licensees hoping to augment food carryout and delivery sales with the carryout or delivery of beer, wine and liquor, but the caveat is the same restrictions attached to a business’s license apply.

Guidelines from the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) shared by the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association (OCHMRA) on Thursday outline the parameters for carryout beer, liquor and wine sales in the county.

For example, Class A, Class B and Class D licensed establishments may make sales of alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption only. That essentially means packaged goods sealed and sold or delivered for consumption off-premise. Under the same guidelines, licenses approved for only beer and wine may not sell liquor. In addition, establishments holding Class C beer and wine, or Class C beer, wine and liquor licenses are prohibited from providing any carryout or delivery service.

Under the guidelines, eligible licensees can only offer alcoholic beverages that are manufactured and distributed by wholesalers in sealed containers for carryout or delivery. Distilleries, breweries or wineries may provide carryout or delivery services for alcoholic beverages that are produced by the licensee and are in sealed containers.

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According to the BLC guidelines, licensees are strictly prohibited from providing alcoholic beverages in cups or other open containers for off-premise consumption. In terms of the delivery of alcoholic beverages, sales to minors are strictly prohibited. A delivery customer form must be filled out and signed by the customer for each delivery transaction including pertinent information including date of birth and driver’s license information.

The BLC has said the relaxing of some of the rules for carryout and delivery alcohol sales is a temporary privilege to help businesses through the pandemic crisis. It will remain in effect until the termination of the governor’s state of emergency declaration.

In other good news for many restaurants and bars whose licenses are set to expire at the end of March, the governor’s executive order also states “all licenses, permits, registrations, and other authorizations issued by the state, its agencies or any political subdivision that would expire during the current state of emergency will be extended until at least the 30th day after the state of emergency is lifted.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.