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03.31.2020 Alcoholic Beverage Law

North Carolina ABC Issues and COVID-19

Williams Mullen has been working with the North Carolina ABC Commission and state regulators on alcohol issues relating to COVID-19. We have also published articles for businesses on various legal issues relating to COVID-19, a complete list of which can be found here.

The North Carolina ABC Commission is currently closed to the public, but has employees working on-site and remotely. The Commission has demonstrated flexibility with ABC permittees during this time, for example:

  • Creating grace periods for payments of annual renewal fees;
  • Creating a drop box for permit applications on-site and accepting permit applications by mail;
  • Allowing alcohol permittees facing suspensions for ABC violations to serve their suspensions now, while the business may be closed anyway, to avoid another shutdown later, if certain requirements are met such as notification to ALE;
  • Issuing guidance on service of alcohol curbside and for off premises consumption;
  • Allowing special one time permit holders for festivals and events that are postponed to change the dates on their festivals without having to re-submit the permit packet and fees;
  • Allowing wholesaler delivery persons to help deliver products from food distribution centers to grocery/convenience stores.

We have also been engaged with state and local government policymakers as they have developed and considered various restrictions on citizen movement and business operations. The statewide stay at home order exempts stores that sell alcohol, including “beer, wine and liquor stores,” as well as businesses that ship or deliver alcohol. Roughly 20 local governments have adopted orders requiring non-essential businesses to close, and while these orders have some minor differences, they all allow for the continued operation of businesses that sell, distribute and deliver alcohol.

A link to the statewide order can be found here.

Please let us know if you have any questions concerning these issues.

Please note: This alert contains general, condensed summaries of actual legal matters, statutes and opinions for information purposes. It is not meant to be and should not be construed as legal advice. Readers with particular needs on specific issues should retain the services of competent counsel. 

Please click here for additional legal updates from Williams Mullen regarding COVID-19.