Do local orders from health officials supersede the Governor’s rules?
The short answer is “yes.” Local health officers have legal authority to close businesses or put other restrictions on businesses or the public during emergencies. Please follow the state guidance and local public health department or emergency management declarations.
Is an extension for excise tax filing available to licensees?
On March 24, Governor Inslee signed Proclamation 20-26 which allowed LCB to waive the penalties for failure to timely remit tax payments. This waiver, which was initially for 30 days, was extended first by the governor and then again by the legislature. The latest update to this proclamation, 20-26.3 establishes June 17 as the end of the waiver of mandatory assessment of penalties for late payment. As such, taxes and fees due after that date will again be subject to mandatory assessment of penalties.
Licensees who have concerns about their ability to pay timely should contact the LCB Tax and Fee unit to discuss their particular situation. Based on your license type you should contact:
- Spirits: email@example.com
- Beer & Wine: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Marijuana: email@example.com
All spirit fee licensees, wineries and breweries can make payment by e-check through our systems. Cannabis retailers can make e-check payments through their third party vendors. We are also accepting checks and money orders by mail. We understand this is a very challenging time for many of our licensees. We hope this helps.
Who is enforcing bars and restaurants that are not compliant, and remaining open for more than takeout during the Governor’s proclamation period?
Together with local law enforcement, LCB enforcement will provide education and enforce the Governor’s proclamation to licensees. To contact LCB enforcement:
- Customer Service: (360) 664-9878
- Website: https://lcb.wa.gov/enforcement/report-violation
Can a winery owner buy their own wine specifically to give to “front-line workers” to show gratitude for their work and sacrifice on behalf of others?
The short answer is “yes.” This is normally always the case if a licensee wants to give a bottle away as long as it’s paid for and taxes have been paid. However, a licensee may not advertise that they are giving away alcohol products.
Can a customer with a winery and restaurant license just renew the winery license for now and renew the restaurant license when they are able to open again?
Yes. The LCB is not processing temporary closures at this time. You may renew when you wish to resume operations.
Curbside, "To Go" and Delivery
Spirit, Beer, and Wine (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:
- 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).
For other restaurant license types, licensees may only sell the type of alcohol the annual license allows.
- Delivery of beer to include cider in non-factory sealed growlers, jugs or other similar, non-factory sealed containers is currently 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 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.
Delivery or curbside sales of bottles of spirits is allowed when purchased with a meal/food. (S/BW restaurants only).
Does an employee delivering alcohol need to have a MAST permit?
No. MAST is required for those serving alcohol for on-premises consumption. However, during this period of restrictions due to the COVID pandemic, a MAST permit is not required for restaurants delivering (food + alcohol) of closed bottle containers.
Exactly who can sell food, beer, and wine "to go"?
The temporary allowance includes BW Restaurant and Tavern license holders.
Exactly who can sell food and spirits/beer/wine (SBW) "to go"?
The temporary allowance includes SBW Restaurant license holders.
What are the rules for selling alcohol during a curbside or "to go" food sale?
The temporary emergency change to sell beer, wine, and/or spirit allows you to sell beer in factory-sealed, unopened bottles, cans or growlers with your "to go" food order sales. See the complete guidance here.
Can or must I apply for an endorsement to sell alcohol “to go”?
If you already had a license to sell it on your premises with food, then you may temporarily sell it “to go,” if you follow the other temporary rules for alcohol sales, and for employee and customer health protection. See the complete guidance here.
Can I serve customers a drink while they wait for to go food orders if the customers are at least 6 feet apart?
The short answer is “no.” The Governor’s rule does not allow customers to be served on premises or in outdoor locations of your establishment. See the Governor’s order here.
Can private clubs remain open if the proper social distancing requirements are followed?
No, private clubs may not remain open – they are considered to be bars and must close during the proclamation.
Can private clubs sell growlers for off-premises consumption?
No. Private clubs cannot sell growlers for off-premise consumption, however, they may sell wine "to go" to members.
Are tasting rooms considered essential businesses in the Governor’s proclamation?
There can be no on-premises consumption. Licensed entities may have "to go" sales.
Hotels and Nightclubs
Can hotels and nightclubs sell alcohol curbside service and/or delivery?
Hotels can request curbside service and can provide beer and wine (not spirits) curbside. Nightclubs are closed under the Governor's proclamation.
If a hotel with a liquor license temporarily shuts down due to COVID-19, does it need to notify the LCB about the shutdown? I know there's usually a 30 days or less timeframe when hotels do not need to notify the LCB about short-term closures.
No. You do not need to notify the LCB of the suspension of operations during this period.
Can distillers produce hand sanitizer and donate/sell it, or high proof spirits, to hospitals for them to use as hand sanitizer?
Yes. Please refer to this fact sheet for specifics about producing hand sanitizer and selling/donating high proof spirits.
Are spirits taxes due on denatured spirits?
If the alcohol is being sold for non-consumptive purposes (denatured) then 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 the purposes of consumption (e.g. 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.
Is it okay for distributors help retailers by stocking our shelves?
No. This is too far into the money’s worth prohibition.
May our distributor pick up product and replace it with the next vintage?
Yes. This is allowed under existing law.
Distributors would like to help with the efforts of local distillers who are making hand sanitizer. They have unsaleable spirits that they would normally have destroyed. Can they be permitted to donate these unsaleable bottles to a local distiller who is making hand sanitizer as part of the effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19? This doesn’t appear to be covered by RCW 66.28.040, but does appear to be consistent with the intent of allowing donations for worthy causes.
Spirits distributors pay fees upon sale, so there is currently no tax implication to the LCB if it was donated as unsaleable. The distillery paid TTB taxes when it left their bonded area, so it is fairly far removed from returning to bond to get a credit.
We suggest keeping an invoice showing the quantity of what was shipped for $0.00, and a note or description that it was unsaleable product donated for use in sanitizer production and a bill of lading. This is typical documentation for a transfer of product.
May airport restaurants sell alcohol?
The Governor’s March 23, 2020 proclamation deems airports as essential transportation services, and they can remain open. Restaurants can stay open for carry-out and quick serve food operations only – including food preparation, carry-out, and delivery. There is no indication in the Governor’s March 23, 2020 proclamation that airport restaurants are allowed to remain open with sit-down service. This would likely violate the order barring gatherings for social and recreational purposes. Please note that this answer is WSLCB’s guidance for restaurants that are alcohol licensees at airports, and that WSLCB does not have jurisdiction over restaurants in airports that do not provide alcohol. Alcohol service is not permitted “to go” at Washington State airports.
Can breweries, wineries and distillers remain open without food service?
Manufacturing may continue, however, sit down service is not allowed at this time.
During this pandemic, are Servers/Sellers allowed to work if they can show a Certificate of Completion or are they still required to have their MAST Permit on them while working?
Certificate of Course Completion does not replace the requirement of having an actual MAST permit. Since on-premises consumption is not allowed, the vast majority of MAST holders are likely not working right now. MAST requirements state that providers must issue permits to students who successfully complete the MAST class and exam within 30 days of the class.
Are restaurant sales of spirits by the bottle taxed at the restaurant rate (by the drink) or grocery store rate (by the bottle)?
S/B/W restaurants should only collect retail sales taxes on bottle sales.
Are restaurants getting an unfair competitive advantage by selling bottles of spirits not subject to the 17% license fee?
While we are helping businesses by allowing some activities that are not specifically called out in statute, we do not have the authority to collect taxes or fees that are not specifically mandated by statute. The 17% Spirits License Issuance Fee is a specific fee collected from certain license types – Spirits Retailers and Distillers selling directly to consumers. Although SBW restaurants are engaging in a similar activity, the fee is assessed by license type, and not the activity in general.
Pick-up Windows and Third-Party Delivery
Can we sell to go beer and wine through our pick-up window? We are licensed as on-premise and can verify age at time of picking up.
To ensure no sales to intoxicated persons or minors we do not allow “drive up” or “drive through” sales. You may sell by delivery, through a walk-up window, "to go" at the premises, or by walking product to the curbside. Delivery of alcohol by third-parties -- such as Uber, Lyft and DoorDash -- is not permitted.
Can Snack Bar licensees sell beer and malt beverages "to go"?
Yes. "To go" beer and malt beverages in factory sealed containers are allowed during this time.
Age Restricted Restaurants
I have an age-restricted restaurant. May I allow my kids to be on site while the COVID-19 restrictions are in place?
Due to the related COVID – 19 impacts, the LCB is temporarily relaxing enforcement of the prohibition of minors being present in restricted areas of licensed restaurants in limited circumstances. This temporary allowance is to accommodate families that have been impacted by school closures. Effective immediately, and until the Governor’s Stay Home proclamation is lifted, the LCB will not enforce the minor frequenting laws for licensees who have children under the age of 16 on the licensed premises in age restricted areas, so long as the following conditions are met:
- The person under 16 years of age is a child or grandchild of the licensee;
- The person under 16 years of age is not engaging in any work or act of employment for the licensed business;
- The person under 16 years of age does not possess any alcohol products; and
The business is not allowing any customers into the licensed business for sales, and only engaging in curbside pickup, walk up window pick up, or delivery.
Can licensed caterers deliver products to locations or have people come to their places of business for alcohol service?
The short answer is “No, not at this time.” Catering businesses are intended for public events, which are not permitted under the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. Allowing caterers this privilege would require a change in the law (RCW 66.24.690).
Spirits Retailer/Specialty Shop
Can a spirits retailer/specialty shop do curbside during the ban so people do not have to walk in the store?
Yes. Please follow social distancing protocols and recommendations.
Are online or virtual auctions of alcohol allowed?
Virtual auctions of alcohol are allowed by non-profit organizations under a special occasion license, but online auctions are not allowed. For more detail on the difference between the two, see directly below:
Virtual auctions of alcohol are allowed by non-profit organizations that have obtained a special occasion license. This license allows the non-profit organization to auction alcohol at a specific date, place, and time. To be in compliance with the special occasion license while auctioning alcohol, the non-profit’s auctioneer must be located at a licensed location with the auction items and auction the alcohol to people in real time. These people would teleconference into a meeting to bid and win during the event. The alcohol would then be shipped to the winners or the winners could come pick the alcohol up as soon as they win.
Online auctions are auctions that take place online for a period of time longer than a few hours (such as a “silent auction” that lasts for a day). Since these events do not take place at a specific date, place, and time, the special occasion license would not cover the event and there is currently not a license type that would allow such practice. As a result, selling alcohol this way is not currently allowed under Washington law.
Are marijuana retailers considered essential under the Governor’s list of essential businesses?
Yes, at this time marijuana producers, processors, retailers and labs are considered essential under the Governor’s proclamation.
Is there a possibility that all cannabis retailers will be shut down? If so, what will be done for medical marijuana patients?
Because this situation is evolving quickly, we can’t predict all the state or local restrictions that may happen – including the closure of retail or other cannabis businesses. We understand that medical card holders need products, and the LCB will work within our regulatory authority to ensure access for medical marijuana patients. Please monitor state and local county health or emergency management information to make sure you’re following all rules and laws.
Can licensees deposit any federal disaster money into their business without initial approval, as long as it is reported, similar to the rule on existing owner infusions of capital?
Per Board Interim Policy, BIP-06-2018, a licensed entity or any of its principals may invest their own money into the licensed marijuana business upon submitting a completed “Application for Additional Funding." If the source of funds is questionable, unverifiable, or determined by the LCB to be gained in a manner which is in violation of law, the LCB will conduct further investigation regarding the funds.
Can my children come to work with me since schools are closed?
There is a temporary exemption for producers and processors which allows family (child or grandchild) members under age 16 to enter and remain on the licensed premises/vehicles while their parent/legal guardian is working. The child may not engage in any business related activity. This does not apply, and children are not allowed to be in retail cannabis businesses or delivery vehicles. For specific details, refer to our complete guidance.
Can cannabis retailers erect temporary barriers to provide employees separation from customers as long as they do not obstruct camera views?
Temporary placement of a structure to distance individuals is allowed without seeking any type of Board approval at this time. If you need to make structural changes to your floor plan, submit an email to Nicola.Reid@lcb.wa.gov. She will review your request to let you know if your desired change can be processed, or if an application is necessary.
Can retailers deliver to customers?
No. However, please see allowances for curbside service.
Are producer and processor delivery personnel allowed to wait in their cars while orders are confirmed during this time? Allowing delivery persons to stay on premises in their cars until orders have been verified would be a good social distancing protocol.
Yes. Thank you for following social distancing recommendations.
Is curbside service allowed?
Yes, to promote social distancing, both medical card holders and adult use customers may purchase products curbside while the COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Retailers must follow published restrictions to provide this service.
Can processors accept product back from retailers and re-sell it rather than being required to destroy the product as required in WAC 314-55-77 (15)?
Since cannabis retailers, and workers supporting cannabis retailers are listed in Governor Inslee’s list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers, retail establishments will not be required to temporarily cease operations.
Is it allowable to use my producer/processor facility to make masks for first responders and others?
Yes, thank you for the service.
Plants and Waste
Since medical services have been reduced and redirected, may we eliminate individual plant tagging since workers can't get care if services are needed?
No, not at this time.
Can we allow different waste disposal processes since machines are dangerous and could result in accidental worker injury (such as limb amputation) with reduced available medical care?
The disposal process is very low risk. However, we are willing to consider alternatives to the required process.