LANSING, Mich. – Michigan bars and restaurants can now deliver alcoholic beverages, sell them to-go and offer two-for-one deals, according to a package signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The package allows licensed bars and restaurants to serve drinks to-go and via delivery until Dec. 31, 2025.
Small distilleries can sell mixed drinks to-go and provide samples.
Drinks have to be served in a sealable container that holds no more than one gallon of liquid. Bars and restaurants can’t fill containers before to-go drinks are ordered, but they must be fully sealed and closed off after orders are placed.
For delivered drinks, companies have to stamp, print or label the outside of containers with the words, “Contains alcohol. Must be delivered to a person 21 years of age or older.”
Recipients have to show their identification to verify their age upon delivery.
Licensed establishments can also offer two-for-one drink deals. They can’t offer more than two drinks for one price.
The costs of these promotions have to stay at or above the normal cost.
Selling in commons areas
Cities, townships and villages can establish “social districts” with commons areas for companies to sell alcoholic drinks through Dec. 31, 2024.
That means bars and restaurants that sell alcohol can apply for a permit to sell alcohol in social districts where it was previously prohibited.
Commons areas have to be clearly designated and marked by and be shared by at least two qualified bars or restaurants.
A commons area would not include the licensed premises of any bar or restaurant.
To designate a social distract that closes a road, cities would need approval from whoever has jurisdiction over that road. That area would have to be clearly defined with signs and have specific hours of operation.
Cities will have to maintain commons areas to protect the safety and health of everyone involved.
A bar or restaurant that shares its premises with a commons area in a social district and get an annual permit to sell alcohol as long as the bottles aren’t glass, hold no more than 16 ounces, clearly display a logo or mark unique to that commons area and prominently displays the company’s trade name or logo.
Anyone buying drinks in these commons areas and social districts would not be allowed to take the drinks outside of those areas, even to travel to another commons area or social district.
Social district permits would have to be applied for and renewed just like an alcohol license. The permit fee is $250.
Package provides relief for bars, restaurants hurt by pandemic
Whitmer signed the package to provide relief for bars, restaurants and other businesses that have been devastated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, its members and all 8,500 licensees throughout the state have something to be excited about today,” MLBA Executive Director Scott Ellis said. “We would like to thank Gov. Whitmer, Sen. Nesbitt, Rep. Webber and Rep. Anthony for their focus and hard work for bringing these ideas to fruition in a timely manner.”
The package also raises the current 17% discount on spirits purchased from the state to 23% for 12 months. An on-premises account can now buy 120 liters per year from an off-premises account, which is up from nine liters per month.
An exception to the aid and assistance rule was created to allow manufacturers to refund wholesalers for expired products.
“These bills are critical to the survival of the hospitality industry because we don’t know how long we will be operating at this reduced capacity while many bars are continuing to accrue debt and face financial hardship.” Ellis said. “Everything in this package will help businesses with their long-term recovery as we continue to transition back to normal.”
You can view the full official package below.