Doug Ford says takeout beer and wine from restaurants could be made permanent
There aren't a lot of great things any of us can say about the ongoing global pandemic... but if we did have to choose a fringe benefit (aside from falling rent prices) many in Ontario would likely point to fast, easy alcohol delivery.
You see, prior to the mandated closure of all bars and restaurants due to COVID-19, it was illegal to order beer with your wings or wine with your Italian takeout.
This changed in late March when The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) caved to pressure from small business owners and announced that licensed establishments could start serving booze with takeout and delivery orders.
The unprecedented policy change was taken a step further just a few days later when the AGCO unveiled a host of additional "measures to support licensed restaurants, bars and cideries during COVID-19" — including a massive drop in the minimum price estsablishments were allowed to sell alcohol for.
As of mid-May, Ontario residents can order beer, wine, cider and spirits with their meals from all participating restaurants between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., in some cases for not much more money than they'd be paying at the LCBO.
Here's the thing, though: Regulatory amendments put into place to make this all possible are temporary, expiring at the end of December (with the potential for an extension if a state of emergency remains in effect at that time.)
Asked if his government will keep new rules in place that allow restaurants to deliver alcohol via food delivery apps, Premier Ford says: “We’re going to have that conversation with Mr. Phillips (finance)”— Richard Southern (@richard680news) May 25, 2020
Both Premier Doug Ford and Ontario's Associate Minister for Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, Prabmeet Sarkaria, gave drinkers in the province some reason to hope for permanent booze delivery.
Ford "strongly hinted Monday that takeout wine, beer, and spirits from restaurants and bars would continue after Ontario's state of emergency is lifted," as The Star put it, when he said he'd discuss plans to make current alcohol and cannabis delivery rules permanent with provincial Finance Minister Rod Phillips.
"We're going to have that conversation with Minister Phillips. There’s going to be a lot of things, as we say, the new way of doing business — and not only in government, but in the private sector, too," said Ford when asked about the potential move.
"We'll do anything we can to support our restaurant owners and this is one way that we thought we could," said Sarkaria similarly. "I'm happy to hear that many businesses are really benefiting from it."
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