Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently signed identical bills House Bill 12 and Senate Bill 205, which continue a temporary privilege for local bars, restaurants, and taverns to sell drinks for delivery, including mixed drinks, until June 2023. The privilege first was enacted by executive order at the start of the pandemic in March of 2020.
Wholesalers and other industry leaders supported executive orders and the recent legislation that meets consumer convenience, while urging inclusion of safeguards against abuse and underage sales. As a result, the Maryland bills exemplify smart and responsible alcohol delivery, something that wholesalers have long championed across the country.
“As alcohol e-commerce options for consumers emerge nationwide, taking the needs of local communities into account is paramount when balancing consumer demand with public health and safety," said Bob Douglas, General Counsel to the Licensed Beverage Distributors of Maryland. “The safeguards in this legislation respect the system of local control, benefits local hospitality businesses recovering from unprecedented setbacks, and ensures consumer convenience and choice continues to lead to a more diverse and dynamic alcohol marketplace."
Over the past year, Maryland’s wholesalers have supported efforts to help consumers gain access to the wide variety of products on sale in Maryland while balancing access with health and safety concerns, as the state’s three-tier system intends. As drafted by the state legislature, this measure ensures the many public health and safety benefits of Maryland’s three-tier system extend to the convenience of local, licensed delivery.
These measures will extend the delivery relaxation now in effect under an executive order until June 30th, 2023. At the suggestion of industry leaders, the bill embodies the necessary balance between consumer convenience and smart regulations by including the following provisions:
- Allows on-premise businesses to sell mixed drinks to-go, with proper sealed containers
- Food order and limits required with purchase
- ID Compliance Checks to prevent underage sales
- Delivery by Licensee Employee, not unlicensed entities
- Subject to local licensing jurisdiction approval
- Geographic delivery limits to ensure sales and delivery do not occur outside the licensing jurisdiction, or as a retail-to-retail sale
Further, the bill directs the Maryland Department of Health to conduct a study regarding the impact of these privileges, and report findings to the legislature in December 2022.
To learn more, please visit: https://www.wswa.org/news/responsible-consumer-alcohol-delivery-during-covid-19-beyond