Guidance - Alcohol Licensees

Guidance for Licensees with Alcohol Privileges: Effective Immediately
The following guidance is intended to help licensees with liquor privileges understand the temporary allowances available to them while the COVID-19 restrictions are in place. 

Alert for On-Premises Liquor Licensed Businesses

Changes to the state's pandemic recovery plan happen often based on disease and hospitalization rates and other factors. As of April 22, all but three counties (Pierce, Cowlitz, Whitman) are in Phase 3 of the state's plan. The three counties mentioned were returned to Phase 2 based on disease activity. To find current business allowances and restrictions Click here.

Gov. Inslee's Healthy Washington -- Roadmap to Recovery, defines the state's guidance for liquor-licensed economic activity. Each temporary LCB allowance will be in place until further notice. The LCB will post updates on this website .  

In Phase 3 the restrictions for liquor-licensed location include the following rules:

Indoor dining is permitted under the following criteria: 

  • Indoor dining is limited to 50% capacity
  • Establishments must close by midnight
  • Maximum of 10 people per table
  • Outdoor dining must comply with the requirements of the Outdoor Open Air Guidance. .
  • Establishments only serving individuals 21+ that do not seve food remain closed.

Outdoor and to-go service is permitted provided that all outdoor dining must comply with the requirements of the Outdoor Dining Guidance.

  • Outdoor dining is limited to 50% capacity
  • Maximum of 10 people per table. LCB developed this pictorial document to help staff understand the requirements. It may also be of benefit to licensees.

Phase 2: The Governor released additional guidance regarding Open Air and Outdoor Seating Requirements, Eating and Drinking Establishment Guidance and Theater and Performing Arts in Phase 2

Food Service Requirements for Breweries and Wineries

This guidance is intended to provide clarification for Breweries and Wineries that wish to be open and in compliance with the Governor’s COVID -19 requirements and guidelines. In addition to the Restaurant and Tavern Guidance, all on-premises, liquor-licensed businesses open for alcohol service are required to have food available. The following guidelines are updated, and supersede prior LCB food service guidelines for Breweries and Wineries.

  • Food offerings must be provided on-site by the licensed business to customers, during COVID-19 business operations, until such time as full capacity in licensed locations is allowed.
  • "Food offerings" means a combination of small serving food items to include a mix of hors d'oeuvre type foods, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, deli-style meats, chips, pretzels, nuts, popcorn, crackers, or similar items.
  • Food offerings may be free-of-charge or sold.
  • Food offerings may be prepackaged for individual sale and consumption.
  • Food offerings may be prepared off-site for plating for the customer.
  • Food offerings are not required to have warming, cooking, or heating off-site or on-site prior to service.

In addition to the required on-site food offerings, the Brewery or Winery shall post, in a conspicuous place within any tasting room, a list of multiple local restaurants or food trucks where customers can purchase food for consumption in the tasting room. The list shall include names, addresses, contact information, and hours of operation for each restaurant or food truck.
 

Hours of Service: Guidance Clarification:
Questions have come in related to to-go and delivery sales happening at restaurants after 12:00 p.m. The newest restrictions in the governor’s guidance, specify that all alcohol sales for on-premises consumption must stop at 12:00 p.m. 

Adding or Extending Outside Liquor Service
In order to add or extend outside liquor service, liquor licensees must request floor plan approvals from the WSLCB’s Licensing Division. The process is detailed here.  

Pre-Mixed Cocktails for Sale and Delivery
In addition to the current delivery allowances, restaurants with a Spirits, Beer, and Wine (S/B/W) license issued by LCB may temporarily sell pre-mixed alcoholic drinks (“cocktails”) for consumption off the licensed premises.
Detailed requirements for this practice are available in this May 6 Important Message for Spirits/Beer/Wine Restaurants Regarding Pre-Mixed Cocktails

Curbside Service and Delivery
In addition, LCB will temporarily allow Spirits, Beer, Wine Restaurant license holders to sell closed, manufacturer-sealed, bottles or cans of beer, wine and spirits – in combination with the required sale of "to go" food or by delivery. Liquor sales without food purchases are not allowed under this temporary allowance.

Beer, Wine, Spirit (SBW) Restaurant, Beer and Wine (BW) Restaurant, and Tavern licensees will be allowed to make curbside and/or delivery sales of alcohol under the following conditions:

  • Curbside service:
    • Beer must be in growlers, kegs, or factory sealed bottles and cans.
    • Wine must be in factory sealed bottles.
    • Spirits must be in factory sealed bottles (SBW restaurants only) or meet the requirements for pre-mixed cocktails.
       
  • Delivery:
    • Delivery of beer including non-factory sealed cider crowlers, jugs or other similar, non-factory sealed containers is allowed.
    • Delivery of malt liquor in kegs or other containers capable of holding four gallons or more liquid is allowed, provided that kegs or containers are factory sealed and that the keg sales requirements (see WAC 314-02-115) are followed.
      • Beer must be in factory sealed bottles, cans, or kegs holding 4 or more gallons.
      • Wine must be in factory sealed bottles.
      • Spirits must be in factory sealed bottles (SBW restaurants only) or meet the requirements for pre-mixed cocktails. Delivery or curbside sales of bottles of spirits is allowed when purchased with a meal/food. (S/BW restaurants only).
         

Kegs - Breweries and Microbreweries: 
With the passage of HB 2412, domestic breweries licensed under RCW 66.24.240 and microbreweries licensed under RCW 66.24.244 are not subject to RCW 66.28.200 when selling or offering for sale kegs or other containers containing four gallons or more of malt liquor of the licensee's own production, or when selling, offering for sale, or leasing kegs or other containers that will hold four gallons or more of liquid. This requirement is not in effect yet, but due to the impacts of COVID-19 LCB will not enforce this during the period before the official effective date of HB 2412, which is June 11, 2020. 

Delivery of Growlers:
Affected Licensees:  Breweries, liquor stores, beer and wine specialty stores
Breweries and liquor stores may deliver growlers. Any delivery must be made by licensee employees, as third party vendors are not allowed to deliver alcohol. Endorsements for temporary activity are not needed as the temporary allowance will be discontinued after the proclamation is lifted.

Growlers and Crowlers: 
LCB will temporarily not enforce the prohibitions on pre-filling growlers and crowlers under the following conditions:

  • Pre-filling is limited to daily quantities expected to sell each day during business hours.
  • Pre-filled containers may not be kept or stored beyond the current business day use.
  • This does not in any manner waive federal requirements or prohibitions, and should not be a defense to federal non-compliance.
  • This is only valid during the time period the Governor’s COVID-19 Proclamation for business restrictions is in effect.
     

Trucking services for liquor licensed distributors:
The LCB is providing a temporary allowance to permit licensed distributors, and other industry members, to sell trucking and distribution services for non-liquor items to licensed retailers under the following conditions:

  • Provided services must be at rates that are not less than the cost of wages, equipment use, and fuel paid by the industry member to provide these trucking and distribution services and must not be provided without charge;
  • Licensed distributors or industry members may carry loads that include liquor and other items. Liquor orders must be invoiced separately from any other products delivered.
  • Trucking service contracts must be made available to all retailers in a service area and may not be exclusive.
  • All record-keeping requirements continue to apply.
     

Required signature for home delivery:
Due to the related COVID–19 impacts, effective immediately, and until further notice, the LCB is temporarily relaxing enforcement of WAC 314-03-020(10)(b) and WAC 314-03-030(10)(b). Licensees with a delivery endorsement may choose to photograph the customers ID, or use other devices such as an app scanning the identification, in lieu of gaining a physical signature to document delivery to the customer.

Minors in Restricted Areas
The LCB is temporarily relaxing enforcement practices regarding the prohibition of minors being present in restricted areas of licensed restaurants under specific, limited circumstances.

*LCB has allowed areas of a restaurant license classified as "off limits to persons under the age of 21" to be declassified as "age restricted," except for seating at an actual bar counter. This declassification allows affected restaurants to use the area normally restricted to minors as additional dedicated dining to allow for table space in the restaurant to meet social distancing requirements.

During this period of time, persons under 21 years of age are allowed to be seated in the area normally restricted to minors without being in criminal violation of RCW 66.44.310, minor frequenting an off-limits area. Persons under 21 years of age are still restricted from sitting or standing at the actual bar. Once Phase 4 begins, allowing for full occupancy in restaurants, normal classifications will likely be back in place based on permanently approved floor plans. 
 

Outdoor Advertising and Money’s Worth:

LCB will temporarily not enforce the provisions related to distributors providing free outdoor signage on the premises of licensees for the purposes of advertising the on-premises restaurant or tavern location is open for takeout / "to go" business under the following conditions:

  • Signage must be standard, and not contain a licensee tradename.
  • Donations of signage are limited to restaurants and taverns.
  • Signage size limitations must meet current rule requirements.
  • Signs may not advertise any manufacturer, or contain any brand advertising.
  • A distributor is not obligated to provide any such signage, and an on-premise restaurant or tavern may not require a distributor to provide such signage as a condition for selling any alcohol to the restaurant or tavern.
  • This is only valid during the time period the Governor’s COVID-19 Proclamation for business restrictions is in effect.
     

Golf
This is to provide additional clarity on allowable food and alcohol service at liquor-licensed locations with golf course service. Golf courses must follow the Governor’s proclamations and adhere to the phase approach of the recovery plan.

Golf courses currently having approval for alcohol sales and service on the golf course may sell alcohol to-go, as outlined in other advisements, as well as conduct sales and service for patron consumption while golfing on the course. Alcohol may be picked up at the clubhouse point of sale, or via cart service on the golf course. Until phasing allows for on premises consumption, golf courses may not allow consumption and gatherings in the indoor or outdoor dining areas of their licensed location. 

 

Clarifications for Industry Members Regarding Purchases of Alcoholic Beverages for First Responders
The LCB has received recent questions relating to opportunities to support first responders and health care workers by allowing people to buy alcoholic beverages for workers in these fields. Guidance has been provided to stakeholders directly. A general advisement is available here.  

 

Licensees Producing Hand Sanitizer

  • Applies to: Distillers, and Wineries who hold a class 5 permit. Information is available here about using facilities and equipment to make hand sanitizer, or for distillers wishing to sell distilled alcohol for sanitizing purposes.

Note about Taxes: If the alcohol is being sold for non-consumptive purposes (denatured)  there would be no spirits taxes or fees. This has its roots in the statutory definition of spirits, which defines spirits as a beverage.  If the alcohol is not being sold for consumption (e.g. sold to a hospital), or is used in the production of something that is not intended for consumption (sanitizer), then it would not meet the definition of spirits and no state spirits taxes or fees would be assessed. Wineries engaging in hand sanitizer production with a class 5 permit are also not subject to the taxes for non-consumable products.

 

Distributors Assisting Manufacturers

  • Applies to: Distributors, Manufacturers

Dstributor licensees may assist distillers / manufacturers with supply-chain services to get alcohol for sanitizer delivered to hospitals, compounding pharmacies, and medical facilities for denatured or non-denatured alcohol not intended for consumption. All standard record keeping still applies to all such transactions within the state. Follow this “Guidance for Distillers Producing Hand Sanitizer." This advisement is time limited for the duration of the Governor’s Proclamation related to COVID-19.

 

Converting Night Clubs to Spirits/Beer/Wine Restaurant License

If a night club wants to convert their license to a Spirits/Beer/Wine Restaurant (SBW) license so they can sell meals and alcohol to-go, they must send a request to via email to retailliquorlicensing@lcb.wa.gov. |
Once a request has been received, licensees will be assigned to a licensing specialist who will ask the licensee to provide the following documents:

  • Menu - All menus are required to meet the food standards contained in WAC  314-02-035 to receive an S/B/W Restaurant License.
  • Floor plan - A floor plan will be required only if you plan to serve minors after obtaining an S/B/W Restaurant License. If you plan to continue serving only persons over the age of 21, no floor plan will be required.

A new Local Authority Notice or Public Posting Notice will not be required, since you are not upgrading your license privileges. LCB Licensing staff will try to expedite the license change process for night club licensees wishing to convert to SBW licenses. Once approved, you will receive a letter via email confirming the changes. A new business license will be mailed within one to two business weeks. There is no fee for this license change.
 

Hotels

  • Hotels with restaurants may operate their dining in compliance within all applicable COVID-19 restaurant guidance, including occupancy levels, table size, service hours, social distancing, mask requirements, and entertainment restrictions
  • Hotels with receptions for customers must discontinue the reception alcohol service. This service is similar to non-restaurant activity encouraging socialization, and does not fall within the restaurant allowances
  • Hotel room service may be provided during normal hours of operations, as hotel rooms are not considered an extension of the restaurant

 

Food Requirements at Farmers Markets

The LCB is temporarily relaxing enforcement of food service requirements associated with alcohol sampling at Farmers Markets. The LCB recognizes many breweries and wineries rely on adjacent food vendors to meet requirements set forth in WAC 314-20-018(2)(c). The absence of such vendors negatively impacts the ability for LCB licensees to engage in Farmers Market sampling activities without considerable expenses for independent food service. Therefore; the LCB will not enforce the food service requirement at Farmers Markets until within 30 days after the start of Phase 4 of the Governor’s Safe Start Plan. This advisement does not provide overriding approval to engage in samplings at Farmers Markets if the local health jurisdiction limits or restricts sampling activity. Liquor licensees must still adhere to all local heath requirements in order to legally engage in alcohol sampling at Farmers Markets.

 

Renting Kitchens to Non-Licensees
The LCB will allow liquor licensees with kitchens to rent out their kitchen space to food establishment businesses for the purposes of food preparation and cooking. In order to take advantage of this allowance, the following parameters must be followed:

  • The renter does not have ownership interest in any liquor-licensed business;
  • The renter takes the final food product 'to-go" and does not serve customers in the liquor licensed business;
  • The renter cooks and prepares food outside of the public service hours of the liquor licensee;
  • The liquor licensee secures or removes alcohol during the hours the renter is cooking and preparing food;
    • Examples of securing or removing alcohol include:
      • Locking (with a key and padlock) alcohol behind a gate, cabinet, or tap lock (if taps are present);
      • Locking access to the part of the establishment that contains alcohol during the hours the renter is present; and
      • Physically removing alcohol from the licensed premise during the hours the renter is present.
  • There is a standard operating contract that excludes any profit sharing between the liquor licensee and the renter;
  • The liquor licensee and renter follow public health and workplace safety guidelines. For more information, licensees and renters are encouraged to contact their local health department and the Department of Labor and Industries; and
  • The liquor licensee must submit a business agreement or contract to the WSLCB Licensing Division prior to execution of the business agreement or contract. This agreement or contract must detail how the preceding requirements will be met. Please submit any documents to Kitchens@lcb.wa.gov.

 

Contactless Deliveries of Alcohol from Distributors to Retailers

The WSLCB has made the following exceptions to allow for contactless delivery of alcohol from distributors to retailers:

  • Distributors may, but are not required to, deliver alcohol to retail licensees between the hours of 6am and 2am even if the retailer is not present or open for business.
  • Retailers may use a lockbox to allow access for the distributor’s employees to deliver product and collect payment.
  • Merchandising during closed hours, without retailer supervision, is not allowed.
  • Distributor employees must be over age 21 if delivering to a closed business.
  • Retailers voluntarily using this contactless service may pay by check, money order, or electronic funds transfer, or with a prepaid account. No cash sales are allowed without employee contact.
  • Distributors must initiate the deposit or transfer of funds by the next business day and complete the transaction within five days.
  • If product is delivered in error, existing rules apply for the retailer to notify the distributor and correct the error within eight days. Delivery of incorrect product, or non-sufficient funds transactions which result in the extension of credit, are the responsibility of both the retailer and distributor.

 

Online Silent Auctions of Alcohol
The WSLCB will allow not-for-profit charity organizations to engage in online silent auctions of alcohol if the following parameters are followed:

  • The non-profit organization obtains a special occasion license from the WSLCB;
  • Each online silent auction must not exceed one, 7-day week in length;
  • The alcohol to be auctioned must be located at the non-profit organization’s office or headquarters;
  • The non-profit organization directly collects the money from the sale of alcohol;
  • The winners of the online silent auction are announced during the licensed period – (through a moderator in real time, or electronic notifications); and
  • Alcohol is picked up by the winners at the non-profit organization’s office or headquarters, or is shipped from this location directly to the winner’s address.** ID must be checked on delivery or pick-up to ensure the customer is 21 or older.
     

Advisement RE: WAC 314-20-070 (Beer Returns) 
During the COVID-19 crisis and restaurant current reopening strategies, the LCB is aaommodating licensees by providing the following guidance, in effect for the duration of the Governor’s COVID-19 proclamations.

Current rule treats keg and package beer slightly different. Below you will find the temporary guidelines on beer returns. 

  • Overage beer will be considered defective for the purposes of WAC 314-20-070, so long as:
    • The beer is overage based on the expiration date
    • Overage keg beer has not been tapped
  • Claim adjustments are allowable for full kegs of beer
    • If the keg has not been tapped
    • Refunds for kegs are not allowable
    • Claim adjustments may occur in the form of exchanging the overage product
  • Product exchanges will be allowed for keg and packaged beer as follows:
    • Product must be exchanged for identical product if available
    • If identical product is not available, then product may be exchanged for like valued product

Please keep in mind, it is not mandatory for a distributor to take back overage or defective product, or provide claim adjustments for product.  The exchange is at the sole discretion of the distributor. 

Under Gov. Inslee's Healthy Washington -- Roadmap to Recovery, the expiration date for this allowance is unknown at this time. The WSLCB will notify on its website the exact date of expirations. 

** Note: For orders placed for out-of-state shipment, it is the special occasion licensee’s responsibility to ensure importation laws for other states are followed. This includes obtaining all appropriate permits and authorizations, and also includes compliance with the destination state taxes.

 

Mandatory Alcohol Server Training (MAST) – Temporary Allowance for Class 13 Permit Holders
A MAST Class 13 permit is typically issued to workers of a liquor licensed establishment that are between the ages of 18-21, and allows them to take orders of alcohol, deliver alcohol to customers at their tables for on-premises consumption, and to open or pour beer or wine into a customer’s glass at their table. Class 13 permit holders may perform these duties as long as there is a person 21 years or older on duty supervising the sale of alcohol.

In order to minimize interactions between customers and workers, the WSLCB is temporarily allowing holders of a Class 13 MAST permit to pre-pour samples, flights, and glasses of wine or beer for customers away from the customer’s table instead of having to open or pour wine or beer into a customer’s glass at their table. A person 21 years or older must be on duty supervising the sale.

This allowance will expire 30 days following the end of COVID-19 restrictions for on-premises liquor licensees.

 

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