Restaurants can now sell alcohol with takeout orders

Alcohol on display behind the bar at Blazin' BBQ in Chatham (File photo by Jake Kislinsky)

With Ontario restaurants currently only allowed to offer takeout and delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rules around allowing alcoholic beverages to be included in those orders are being eased.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced on Thursday the Liquor Licence Act has been amended temporarily to let licensed bars and restaurants sell beer, wine, and spirits, as long as they are included as part of a food order.

The amended regulation takes effect immediately and does not require liquor licensees to apply, request permission, or pay a fee.

“The AGCO remains committed to protecting public safety and ensuring that alcohol is sold, served, delivered, and consumed in a responsible manner,” the AGCO said. “Licensees must continue to meet all other existing requirements in the LLA and regulations.”

All alcohol sold in a takeout or delivery order must be in a sealed and unopened container. It can only be sold between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. with no limit on the amount of liquor that may be sold for takeout or delivery. Third parties, such as food delivery services like Skip the Dishes, are permitted to make the alcohol deliveries, as long as they are acting on behalf of a licensee.

In addition, alcohol cannot be sold and delivered to anyone under the age of 19 and must be handed to the individual who submitted the order. Licensees must also ask for ID and aren’t allowed to sell to anyone who appears intoxicated. Those making deliveries that include alcohol must have successfully completed Smart Serve training.

Restaurants and bars must keep a detailed record of all takeout or delivery alcohol sales for one year.

The changes will remain in place until December 31.

Ontario ordered dine-in services at all restaurants and bars across the province suspended under a state of emergency declared on March 17.