Ontario restaurants want permission to include beer and wine with take-out orders
Times are getting harder by the day for bars, restaurants, wineries and other businesses which rely on alcohol sales to bring up their bottom lines.
Sure, places that serve food can still prepare meals for takeout and delivery at present, but they're forbidden from allowing anyone to dine in under order of the Ontario government, which on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in response to the rapidly-spreading COVID-19 pandemic.
Under existing Liquor Control Board of Ontario regulations, restaurants are not permitted to send wine or beer home with customers as take-out, nor are they allowed to deliver directly (unless they also possess a licence to deliver liquor, in which case the booze must be purchased from an LCBO or LCBO-approved outlet and delivered to customers that same day.)
The province's struggling hospitality industry is hoping that these regulations can be modified, even if only temporarily, to help many businesses survive the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak.
modifying ON’s restrictive alcohol policies to help offset the loss of revenue from closures could be a low cost and effective way to support.— David McGown (@davidkmcgown) March 19, 2020
Allow Ontario Restaurants to include wine and beer in take out and delivery orders. https://t.co/SYjuun3Vdv via @CdnChange
"Given the current devastating restrictions on the restaurant industry and hospitality industry in general we need to allow restaurants that offer take-out or delivery options an opportunity to stay in business," reads a petition addressed to Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips.
"It is no secret that alcohol sales are a huge part of a restaurant's income and we need to allow them to create profit where they can. We need to allow them to deliver wine, beer, cider and spirits with their food orders. They are licensed and are paying their taxes on every bottle sold. There is no reason why this should not be allowed!"
The petition, created earlier this week by Niagara winery owner Marcel Morgenstern, has so far been signed by 5,630 people and counting, with supporters now pouring in by the minute.
Takes just a few seconds to sign - not sure if it'll go anywhere, but it's worth a shot -- Allow Ontario Restaurants to include wine and beer in take out and delivery orders. - Sign the Petition! https://t.co/b96hzAO1Oi via @CdnChange— marie c (@mssweetmarie) March 19, 2020
While true that Ontario consumers can still get booze delivered from breweries, the LCBO and private alcohol delivery services, this does nothing to help the many in-person bars and restaurants that have shut down their dining rooms to support social distancing measures.
"Let's support our fiercely independent bars, restaurants, craft breweries, cideries and wineries!" wrote one petition signatory from Great Lakes Brewery in Etobicoke.
"It is time for Ontario to come up to speed. Leave Victorian regulations and restrictions behind," wrote another.
"Support your people, support sources of work and income. In so doing, the government will show true support for Ontario families struggling in these challenging times."
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