[This post has been updated to reflect signing of bill by Mayor Bowser on 8/31[
Today (Aug 31st), Mayor Bowser signed the “Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Support Act of 2020,” sending to Congress for the mandated 30 day review before it becomes law October 1st (it will). The law includes the Alcoholic Beverage Sales and Delivery Amendment Act of 2020. This language, which came from the Mayor’s administration, does the following:
- 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 mininum $200/annual fee required).
- Allow bars and restaurants to start serving alcohol at 6a daily instead of current 8a (2a weekday and 3a weekend closure still in effect)
- Matches the 6a allowed in Prince George’s County.
- Do not expect many spots to take advantage as only a handful of spots are even open at 8a. Will be mostly useful for special events like the Royal Wedding, the World Cup, the Olympics
- Unclear whether this will be implemented during the pandemic; restaurants/bars must close at midnight daily.
- Allow liquor stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, breweries, distilleries to sell between 6a-1a (carryout booze will be allowed during these hours)
- instead of current 7a-midnight
- Not all spots will take advantage.
- Again, unclear whether will be implemented during pandemic
- 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)
Note that the hours in particular could still be limited by ANCs or neighbors via a (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 is 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.