A huge (albeit temporary) change is coming to the foodservice industry in Ontario that will, ideally, help bars and restaurants stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) just announced that licensed restaurants and bars in Ontario may sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders between the hours of 9:00 am and 11:00 pm.
All bars and restaurants can begin offering this service immediately if there is no application process or fee required.
The AGCO says liquor may be sold for takeout or delivery through a third party, such as a food delivery service or ordering platform, that is acting on behalf of the establishment.
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While this could certainly be a boon to restaurants, the AGCO says the usual rules surrounding alcohol still apply. The organization says the bar or restaurant must ensure the delivery recipient is at least 19-years-old and is not intoxicated and that the staff member involved in the delivery has successfully completed Smart Serve training.
In instances where the delivery is being carried out by a third party on behalf of the bar or restaurant, Smart Serve certification is required by April 25, 2020.
“Everyone at the AGCO is concerned for the individuals, families, businesses and communities affected by this virus. We are working closely with the Government of Ontario to find ways of supporting Ontarians and the sectors we regulate during these challenging times,” said Jean Major, Registrar and CEO of the AGCO, in a statement.
The AGCO is also temporarily allowing authorized grocery stores and liquor manufacturer retail stores to begin selling alcohol at of 7:00 am. It says this is being done in order to support early shopping programs for vulnerable people and to provide greater flexibility to retail stores.
The AGCO is also extending current licences by a period of three months.
Horse racing licences will be extended for one year.