Understanding COVID-19 Off-Premise Alcohol Policies for Restaurants

NCCO offers a variety of tamper-evident labels for alcoholic beverages.

Strict rules and regulations governed alcohol sales long before COVID-19. But as restaurants and bars all over the country struggle this year, some measures have been put in place to expand off-premise alcohol sales. While these policies certainly help boost revenue, it’s tough to understand alcohol restrictions when they vary from state to state.

As the number of COVID cases began to rise this holiday season, more states that loosened restrictions over the summer started limiting hours of operations again—even going so far as to close dine-in services for bars and restaurants. Establishments that were open for a few months again found themselves closing their doors and reverting to takeout and curbside pickup.

Understanding Your State’s Regulations

Since regulations seem to change from week to week, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the rules and regulations in your state. There are three main questions to consider:

  1. Are you open for on-premise alcohol sale?
  2. Are you allowed to sell alcohol for take-out or curbside pickup?
  3. Are you allowed to deliver alcohol to customers?

Each of these may or may not also require a special permit or license. In some states or counties, restaurants are not allowed to sell drinks alone. Customers must also order food. Customers might also be required to hit a minimum or maximum order, such as at least a $150 purchase or no more than 375ml of alcohol at a time.

For some of the rules and guidelines covering how alcohol can be delivered in each state, check out this document from the National Restaurant Association.

Container Requirements

While the regulations may differ from region to region, one requirement is almost unanimous: to serve or deliver alcohol off their premises, restaurants and bars need safe, secure, and tamper-resistant packaging. Some states only allow factory sealed containers that were sealed by the manufacturer (like aluminum cans, wine bottles, or small bottles of liquor).  Others will allow mixed drinks, but will also require tamper-evident tape or labels.

Our SecureIt tamper-evident labels adhere to a variety of packaging materials, including paper, plastic, foil, and cardboard. Whatever your state requires to transport alcoholic drinks to your customers, we can help you give them peace of mind while following the rules outlined in your state or region.

Remember that although some of these delivery options may only be available during the pandemic, some states have already made permanent changes to allow alcohol delivery. While we see off-premise alcohol sales as a way to make it through a tough time, these changes could stick around indefinitely. Whether they do or don’t, our SecureIt alcohol labels can help you make the most of this opportunity now.