Despite all Texas state restaurants being closed for dine-in options due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, options for both delivery and carryout remain available. Now, all restaurants (that have the appropriate licenses) in the state that serve food are also now able to legally offer alcohol, beer, and wine to all of their customers as well.
More specifically, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has clarified that the new policy, which was recently implemented by Governor Greg Abbott via a temporary waiver, applies only to alcoholic beverages that are already in manufacturer-sealed containers that are 375 milliliters or less. Essentially, what this means is that restaurants will not be permitted to mix and seal their own specific drinks and cocktails on their own; however, cocktail kits that include other ingredients with pre-approved alcoholic retail bottles are permitted. Additionally, Governor Abbott’s waiver further mandates that alcoholic beverages cannot be ordered and delivered or carried out on their own – they must be accompanied by some type of food purchase.
Governor Abbott issued the waiver back on March 19, clarifying that the waiver itself is a temporary one and that it also applies to both Austin and the entire state of Texas. Furthermore, prior to the waiver being issued, restaurants, bars, and breweries that already possessed retailer permits for beer and wine were already permitted to sell these types of to-go alcoholic beverages.
According to reports, the waiver issued by Governor Abbott is signed to help with easing the loss of major revenue due to an ongoing statewide mandate requiring restaurant dining rooms and bars to remain closed in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Restaurants, however, are permitted to remain open for both delivery and takeout services.
Additionally, Governor Abbott’s waiver applies specifically to restaurants that possess mixed beverage permits, including bars that also serve food. It has also been mandated that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission must temporarily permit both restaurants and bars to sell back any alcoholic products that have been unopened. They must also permit both alcohol manufacturers and distributors to re-purchase those products if they choose to do so. This essentially will enable both restaurants and bars to dispose of any excess stock that they may have thanks in large part due to previously planned events being canceled, as well as the expectation of regular service.
Governor Abbott’s office released the following statement in regards to the waiver being issued:
“Governor Greg Abbott today issued a waiver that will allow restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages with food purchases to patrons, including beer, wine, and mixed drinks. The Governor also directed the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) to waive certain provisions to allow manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of alcoholic beverages to repurchase or sell back unopened product.
These waivers are in response to the financial hardship caused by COVID-19 that has disproportionately affected the hospitality industry.
‘The State of Texas is committed to supporting retailers, restaurants, and their employees,’ said Governor Abbott. ‘These waivers will allow restaurants to provide enhanced delivery options to consumers during this temporary period of social distancing.’
Under this waiver, effective immediately, restaurants with a mixed beverage permit may sell beer, wine, or mixed drinks for delivery as long as they are accompanied by food purchased from a restaurant.
The buy-back waiver allows alcohol distributors and manufacturers to repurchase excess inventory from restaurants, bars, and clubs affected by event cancellations due to COVID-19.”
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