When the governor of North Carolina ordered the closing of all restaurants and bars to in-service patrons on St. Patrick’s Day, my thoughts went to the servers and the bartenders. This is not because I’m a regular patron. Rather it is because the Complementary Spouse’s first cousin just started a new job as a bartender.
Toby is very good at what he does and is very service oriented. As a result, he makes good tips whether as a server or a bartender. Immediately becoming eligible for unemployment will only replace a fraction of his income.
The NC Executive Order only tells the Alcoholic Beverage Commission to study the situation and get back to the governor in writing on regulations that they might be able to waive or show some flexibility.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) goes further than Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) and actually orders some things that will help bars and bartenders.
Governor Greg Abbott today issued a waiver that will allow restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages with food purchases to patrons, including beer, wine, and mixed drinks. The Governor also directed the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) to waive certain provisions to allow manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of alcoholic beverages to repurchase or sell back unopened product.
These waivers are in response to the financial hardship caused by COVID-19 that has disproportionately affected the hospitality industry.
“The State of Texas is committed to supporting retailers, restaurants, and their employees,” said Governor Abbott. “These waivers will allow restaurants to provide enhanced delivery options to consumers during this temporary period of social distancing.”
Under this waiver, effective immediately, restaurants with a mixed beverage permit may sell beer, wine, or mixed drinks for delivery as long as they are accompanied by food purchased from the restaurant.
The buy-back waiver allows alcohol distributors and manufacturers to repurchase excess inventory from restaurants, bars, and clubs affected by event cancellations due to COVID-19.
So bartenders can still make drinks for delivery and establishments can sell back their excess inventory. This keeps more people employed and allows the reallocation of inventory. I like it.
North Carolina should follow the example of Texas. However, given my home state’s antediluvian approach to anything dealing with alcoholic beverages, I’m not holding my breath.