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Here's what you can do with your license during the coronavirus crisis

The latest development:

The Dept. of ABC has released a fast track expansion process to help licensees use nearby spaces and comply with social distancing guidelines in California. To learn how to apply for this, head over to the How-To on our blog. Or if you prefer, we can handle this application for you. To book this service, click here.

San Francisco Outdoor Dining Instructions

San Francisco has released info about their fast track permit for sidewalk and parking space dining, starting Friday, June 12. You can apply HERE. The permit for expanding onto nearby side streets will launch Monday, June 15. If you're sharing space with a neighboring business, apply together.


You need a copy of your insurance and to give SF details of the specific area and barriers you will use. They have safety requirements here.


You need to comply with ADA laws. Don't block ramps, exits, driveways, fire hydrants, bus stops etc. Public walkways need to be 6 feet across.


Once you know what you can do, you can apply to ABC expansion permit. Please note: they are 2 separate processes. 


You can't serve alcohol until you get an email from ABC with approval. 



Serve Alcohol in Your New Outdoor Space

We've been approved for several Temporary Catering Authorizations (TCA). See HERE for a blog post with instructions if you want to do this yourself. For San Francisco, ABC will accept applications June 11 or 12.


You can start serving alcohol in your expanded area once you receive email approval from ABC. We've gotten these back really fast from 3 different ABC district offices. They are processing in a day or two.


Bars can avail themselves of this as long as you're offering "substantial" meals. You can partner with a food truck or other food service vendor, you just need to collect food revenue and pay out the vendor.


We can help for $100. Just hit that button at the top of this page, or head here.


Ordered 3/19/2020 by California’s Department of ABC for all ABC licensees.

Here’s what you can do during this Covid-19 crisis. Reach out to us if you have any questions.

1. Returns of alcoholic beverages – wholesalers can (but are not required to) accept returns from retailers.

2. Retail-to-retail transactions – off-sale licensees (20s and 21s) can purchase product from on-sale retailers (41, 42, 47, 48)

3. Extension of credit – credit term rules are relaxed. It’s up to the parties involved what terms are appropriate.

4. On-sale retailers exercising off-sale privileges – THIS. 47 and 48 licensees CAN sell beer, wine & DISTILLED SPIRITS “to go” in manufacturer packages, and 41and 42 licensees can sell beer and wine “to go” in manufacturer packages.

5. Sales of alcoholic beverages to go – restaurant licensees (41 & 47) can sell beer, wine, spirits, and COCKTAILS “to go” in containers with secure lids (no openings for sipping or straws) with food sales.

**NOTE: The below language must be posted prominently.

6. Drive-thru windows for off-sale transactions – you can sell to patrons in vehicles.

7. Deliveries to consumers – this is allowed when payments have been processed at the restaurant. IE. take cards in advance.

8. Hours of operation for on-sale premises – all hourly restrictions are relaxed aside from the 2am – 6am state-wide restriction. 


**Required Language for restaurants selling pre-mixed drinks:

“Alcoholic beverages that are packaged by this establishment are open containers and may not be transported in a motor vehicle except in the vehicle’s trunk; or, if there is no trunk, the container may be kept in some other area of the vehicle that is not normally occupied by the driver or passengers (which does not include a utility compartment or glove compartment (Vehicle Code Section 23225)). Further, such beverages may not be consumed in public or in any other area where open containers are prohibited by law.” 


Because we have gotten a lot of questions about the to-go rule in particular, here's what you can do right now during this temporary, emergency legislation:


  • Restaurants can sell the alcohol permitted under their license type (beer & wine for Type 41; beer, wine and distilled spirits for Type 47) "to go" in manufacturer-sealed containers (ie. bottles and cans of wine and beer). 

  • Type 41 and Type 47 licensees can also sell poured beverages (beer, wine and beer/wine-based mixed drinks for Type 41; beer, wine and all cocktails for Type 47)  in "secure" containers, ie. disposable cups with lids or growlers. Any holes in the lids should be taped over or covered in some way. 


One other thing - while ABC is not enforcing any "no off sale" conditions, they do not have any control over rules from your city's planning department. If Palo Alto or Walnut Creek specifies in your CUP that no off sales are allowed or you have to close by 11pm, local law enforcement might be enforcing that. You need to ask the city if they are enforcing those restrictions.

For even more clarification on what you can and can't do with your license, check ABC's guidelines here. Just scroll down to find your license type. And as always, reach out to us with any questions.

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