New York, Texas Ease Alcohol Delivery Law Amid COVID-19 Crisis

A restaurant employee pours a glass of white wine at a table with glasses of red wine.

MOST STATES DON’T ALLOW CONSUMERS TO PURCHASE ALCOHOL ONLINE FOR DELIVERY.

Around the country, law against alcohol delivery are strict, which presents an interesting situation given the mass social isolation from the COVID-19 outbreak. 

According to Consumer Choice Center, Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Nebraska, and New Hampshire are the only states that allow consumers to buy alcohol online and have it delivered to their home. Alabama, Oklahoma, and Utah ban all alcohol shipments entirely. All of the other states fall in between in terms of allowing shipments of wine, shipments of alcohol after an in-store purchase, and shipments from wineries in the state. 

“Now is as good a time as any to consider changing these laws and empowering consumers to receive alcohol at home just like any other product,” said Yaël Ossowski, Consumer Choice Center deputy director, in a post on the organization’s website. 

In New York, which now leads the country in the amount of COVID-19 cases, the State Liquor Authority announced a change in the law in which restaurants and bars can sell wine and liquor for takeout or delivery, but the consumer must also purchase food. The change was meant to support restaurants that are facing declining sales due to the statewide closure of dining rooms. Restaurants and bars in New York were already allowed to sell beer for takeout or delivery. 

Following New York’s lead, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday a waiver to allow restaurants and bars to deliver beer, wine, and mixed drinks with the purchase of food. He also told the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to allow businesses to sell back unopened product back to manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. 

In Ohio, no laws have changed, but restaurants and bars have been allowed to return unopened high proof liquor products bought within the past 30 days. The same is true for businesses that had to cancel events between March 12 and April 6. If the gathering ban in Ohio continues past April 6, then Ohio’s regulatory body will continue to allow the return of unopened product. 

More than half of states have closed dining areas and have limited restaurants and bars to takeout and delivery. Earlier in the week, President Donald Trump recommended that people do not gather in groups of more than 10. Meanwhile restaurants nationwide have seen sales plunge, and some foodservice organizations have asked the administration for financial relief. 

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

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