Michigan bars navigate changing rules, can now offer alcohol to-go

The order does not affect bars up north

Michigan bars, restaurants can now deliver alcoholic drinks, sell them to-go, offer 2-for-1 deals
Michigan bars, restaurants can now deliver alcoholic drinks, sell them to-go, offer 2-for-1 deals

LANSING, Mich. – There’s a lot of uncertainty involving what bars can and can’t do after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order that effectively stopped indoor alcohol service at most locations.

But the order also made it OK for alcohol to be sold to-go.

Bookie’s Bar & Grille on Cass Avenue in Detroit was given the green light to remain open due to its large patio and outdoor seating. It’s bad news for traditional bars and nightclubs that need to remain closed.

“I think most people feel more comfortable outside, so this is a huge asset,” said Bookie’s owner Jay Lambrecht. “In Michigan, you get a few great months of the year. It’s a great spot to be.”

Per the Gov.’s order, bars with on-premises liquor licenses that earn more than 70% of receipts from alcohol must shut down. And those without an outdoor space are allowed to sell drinks to-go or via delivery.

Fifth Avenue, a popular night spot in Royal Oak, had three of its customers test positive for COVID-19 in June. Its outdoor space will allow the bar to remain open.

RELATED: Video shows Royal Oak bar linked to COVID-19 cases was crowded without social distancing

“We’re spending a bunch of money to have this deck that will allow us to spread out and social distance better,” said Fifth Avenue owner Tony Yezbick.

The order does not affect bars up north.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.