Mayor Bowser introduced her Fiscal Year 2021 proposed budget today (Mon. 5/18) and buried in the Fiscal Impact Statement from DC’s CFO (see page 33-34) that I found after some serious Googling are some smart proposals in the Alcoholic Beverage Sales and Delivery Amendment Act of 2020:
- Permanently allow registered bars and restaurants to provide take-out and delivery alcohol (accompanied with prepared food item as is now, existing registered licensees would be grandfathered by April 1, 2021, new ones would have to request endorsement. Basic min. $200/annual fee required).
- Allow bars and restaurants to start serving alcohol at 6a daily (great for soccer or just getting off the clock) instead of 8a (2a weekday and 3a weekend closure still in effect)
- Allow liquor stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, breweries, distilleries to sell between 6a-1a instead of current 7a-midnight (carryout booze allowed during these hours)
- Expand 4a last call around inauguration from current Jan 15-21st to Jan 9th-24th and a few more Fri/Sat nights around a mid-week holiday (already allowed around all federal/DC holidays). Expands from about 27 days year to about 33 days (depending on calendar)
The law will still have to be considered by the Council but these are solid, easy ideas to implement. Note that the hours in particular could still be limited by settlement agreement but I don’t expect indoor hours to be restricted before 8a except maybe when a bar is adjacent to a house and a rowdy neighbor.
For the next four years, DC expects to generate additional sales tax revenues of $635k/year (6a bars/restaurants including food), $140k/year (extra 4a), and $8k/year (iquor stores being open longer). An assumption has been made that additional delivery/takeout alcohol will be a substitute for other sales.