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?
The Governor’s Proclamation 20-26 and the Board’s emergency rules waiving the requirements to assess penalties on late payment of taxes and fees have expired. As such, LCB will again be required to assess penalties on late payments of beer, wine and marijuana taxes, and spirits license issuance fees.
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.
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 and spirits/beer/wine (SBW) "to go"?
The temporary allowance includes SBW Restaurant license holders.
What are the rules for a Spirits, Beer & Wine Restaurant license holder to sell alcohol during a curbside or "to go" food sale?
Please refer to the complete guidance for detailed information regarding “to go” sales of closed containers of spirits, beer, and wine, as well as cocktails “to go.”
During this time, do I have to 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 private clubs be open and serve customers?
Effective immediately, Private Clubs can open for indoor dining – following the same COVID-19 health and safety restrictions as taverns, breweries, wineries, and distilleries.
As “bars” (establishments which do not sell prepared foods along with beverages) in our state remain closed, Private Clubs who wish to be open for service must offer a “reasonable” number of food items along with beverage service. A more detailed definition of “reasonable” will be provided following an upcoming discussion with the Department of Health – which licenses food establishments.
To operate now, Private Clubs must meet all the restaurant requirements related to COVID-19 – including the restriction on sales and service after 10 pm., customer and staff masks, social distancing, and other requirements found on the LCB’s COVID-19 webpage for licensees and the state’s guidance for businesses webpage.
Private Clubs may not sell liquor to the public and are not permitted to be open as a social drinking clubs only. Social drinking clubs would be considered a bar, and therefore not allowed to have indoor beverage consumption.
Hotels and Nightclubs
Can hotels and nightclubs sell alcohol for 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 until Phase 4 of the reopening plan. Learn about how to convert a nightclub license to a Spirits, Beer & Wine license here.
If a hotel with a liquor license temporarily shuts down due to COVID-19, does it need to notify the LCB about the shutdown?
No. Hotels do not need to notify the LCB of suspended 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?
Airport restaurants must follow the Governor's restaurant guidance related to the phase impacting the county it is located in. Alcohol service is not permitted "to go" at airport restaurants.
Can breweries, wineries, and distillers remain open?
Production of alcohol at these facilities may continue. Outside service in designated areas is allowed so long as physical distancing precautions are maintained. Indoor service is allowed if the brewery, windery, or distillery provides a reasonable number of food items. For more information, please see the requirements here.
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, wine, and/or spirits through our pick-up window? We are licensed as on-premises and can verify age at time of picking up.
To ensure no sales to intoxicated persons or minors, the WSLCB does not allow “drive up” or “drive through” sales. On-premises licensees 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?
Licensed Caterers are permitted to deliver alcohol, but only to a client’s home. They cannot host events at their licensed location.
Spirits Retailer/Specialty Shop
Can a spirits retailer/specialty shop allow curbside service 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 LCB 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?
Yes. Delivery persons may stay on premises in their cars until orders have been verified.
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.