Ontario restaurants petition to include liquor in takeout and delivery

Restaurants and bars hope selling booze could help offset their losses

With Ontario bars and restaurants prohibited from offering dine-in services for the foreseeable future, many have pivoted to takeout and delivery models to stay afloat.

To-go dining alone, however, isn’t profitable enough to keep certain restaurants in the green. The industry is now petitioning the Ontario government to allow wine, beer, cider, and spirits to be sold as part of their takeout and delivery orders.

Current Liquor Control Board of Ontario regulations only allow licensed restaurants to sell liquor for consumption on-site in their establishments, which means booze can’t be included in takeout and delivery orders.

As Niagara winery owner Marcel Morgenstern explains in his petition, however, alcohol sales traditionally represent a significant part of a restaurant’s income.

 

Amsterdam Barrel House

Morgenstern and petition signers believe that changing these to-go alcohol policies, if only even temporarily, could help restaurants recover some of the revenue lost amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The move has the potential to allow more restaurants to keep their doors open without receiving direct funding from the Ontario government.

The B.C. government announced a new policy last weekend that will allow bars and restaurants to deliver liquor with food from now until at least June 15.

Individuals delivering liquor with takeout will be required to have Serving It Right certification (B.C.’s equivalent to Smart Serve), so there’s hope that restaurants will employ laid-off serving staff (who would already have been required to possess this certification) to make the deliveries. B.C. will also allow customers to pick-up liquor with their food orders, as long as the bottles are sealed.

B.C.’s decision bolsters hope that the Ontario government will follow suit. The petition currently has close to 9,000 signatures.