ontario alcohol

Ontario will now allow restaurants and bars to sell alcohol for takeout and delivery

In an effort to help struggling businesses in the restaurant industry throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic, Ontario is temporarily changing the rules surrounding alcohol delivery and takeout. 

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced today that any licensed restaurant or bar in Ontario may now sell alcohol with delivery or takeout orders between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.

The AGCO says this change is effective immediately, and there is no application process or fee. 

The move comes after Niagara winery owner Marcel Morgenstern started a petition encouraging the government to make these changes in light of the severe impacts of the outbreak on the food and beverage industry. The petition garnered 10,726 signatures. 

"Thank you!!! It was announced this morning that restaurants are now allowed to include closed containers of alcoholic beverages in their food takeout orders!" Morgenstern wrote on the petition page after the news was announced. "You made this happen!!!"

Under the new regulations, restaurants and bars are permitted to sell alcohol using a third party, such as a food delivery service or ordering platform, as long as "they are acting on behalf of the licensee."

The AGCO says the holder of the liquor sales licence is accountable for the responsible sale and delivery of alcohol, meaning they're in charge of making sure the person who ordered the alcohol is at least 19 and is not intoxicated as well as making sure the the licensee or its staff involved in the delivery of alcohol successfully completed Smart Serve training.

If delivery is being carried out by a third party on behalf of the licensee, Smart Serve certification is required by April 25. 

"Additionally, the AGCO is temporarily allowing authorized grocery stores and liquor manufacturer retail stores to begin selling alcohol as of 7:00 am in order to support early shopping programs for vulnerable people and to provide greater flexibility to retail stores," the AGCO said in a statement.

"The temporary extension of hours also provides greater flexibility for all alcohol retail stores to choose their hours of sale to meet public health objectives. Consumers are encouraged to confirm the operating hours with retailers."

The commission has also decided to extend the term of all active liquor, gaming and cannabis licences, authorizations and registrations for a three-month period. Licensees do not need to do anything, as existing licences will simply remain in effect for the extended period at no additional cost.

"Everyone at the AGCO is concerned for the individuals, families, businesses and communities affected by this virus," said Jean Major, registrar and CEO of the AGCO, in a statement.

"We are working closely with the Government of Ontario to find ways of supporting Ontarians and the sectors we regulate during these challenging times."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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