ABRA remains operational during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency; however, its physical office is closed to the public through Monday, June 8.
The ABC Board has determined to extend the following deadlines:
- Annual License Payments | Extended from March 31, 2020 to June 30.
- Alcohol License Expirations | Alcohol licenses that expire March 16 - May 31 are now valid through June 30.
- Fines | Fines due March 16 - May 31 are now due June 30.
- Q1 Statements | Extended from April 30 to June 30.
- Protest Petition Deadlines | All protest deadlines scheduled for March 23 - May 4 have been extended. The new Protest Petition Deadline and Roll Call Hearing dates for all affected filing dates during this period are now June 1 and June 15 at 10:00 a.m. respectively. Establishments will not be re-placarded with the updated deadline.
- Protest Status Hearings and Protest Hearings | Hearings scheduled through July 29 have been postponed. New dates and times will be provided at a later date.
- Notice of Public Hearings | ABC Establishments are being placarded. During this time, the public comment period has been extended by 21 calendar days. As such, the public comment period for ANCs is now 66 days instead of 45 days. This change will provide those eligible to file a protest with a protest petition deadline of mid-July.
Additionally, under current law, a licensee that ceases operations or closes it premises for 21 or more days is required to place their ABC license in safekeeping. The ABC Board has delayed the tolling of the 21-day period until the public health emergency has ended.
Delivery of Service Modifications
- Licensing | All applications and payments may be submitted by mail or placed in the ABRA lobby in the Self-Service Kiosk and Payment Dropbox.
- Community Presentations | Invitations to attend or present in-person at community events including ANC meetings are being deferred.
- Mediations | In-person mediations are suspended. Agency representatives will contact relevant parties regarding alternative options.
- ABC Board Meetings | Board meetings will continue to take place but agendas will be limited in scope.
- FOIA Requests | Requests will continue to be fulfilled as quickly as possible but the COVID-19 Response Act relieves DC agencies from having to fulfill requests within 15 business days.
- Recruitment | Open positions will continue to be posted but no in-person interviews will take place.
The need for additional modifications is being evaluated on an ongoing basis.
There will be no changes to enforcement. Compliance with ABC laws will continue to be monitored and appropriate enforcement action will be taken in response to any violations.
Additionally, ABRA’s investigators will continue to respond to complaints reported to the afterhours hotline, online, and by email daily from 7 pm to 4 am.
Orders, Notices, Advisories, and Laws
Several Mayor’s Orders, Public Notices, Health Advisories, and emergency legislation related COVID-19 in DC have recently been issued. Those specifically pertaining to the selling and serving of alcoholic beverages are detailed below.
- COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (COVID-19 Response Act)
The Act allows ABC-licensed restaurants and taverns to sell beer, wine, and spirits for carry-out and/or delivery to DC residences in conjunction with the purchase of at least one (1) prepared food item.
Emergency rulemaking adopted by the ABC Board on March 25 extended alcoholic beverage carry-out and delivery privileges to hotels, multipurpose facilities, private clubs, and food retailers with commercial street footage at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
Before an eligible ABC licensee can commence alcoholic beverage carry-out and delivery sales, they must register with ABRA and confirm receipt of an email approving them to proceed. There is no fee to register.
Establishments found ineligible to participate will be contacted by ABRA and must immediately cease sales. Registrants are reminded that there have been no modifications to enforcement and they must remain in compliance with all ABC laws.
Additionally, under current law, a licensee that ceases operations or closes it premises for 21 or more days is required to place their ABC license in safekeeping. The March 25 emergency rulemaking delayed the tolling of the 21-day period until the Public Health Emergency has ended.
- Registration form
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- Registered and confirmed eligible establishments
Included are several provisions to promote social distancing and provide financial relief to licensees.
- Carryout and delivery pop ups—select on-premises retailer licensees may sell alcoholic beverages for carryout and delivery with prepared food from an additional location for up to 30-days. Operations may be conducted from 7 am to midnight seven days a week. Registration with ABRA is required.
- Electronic signatures—applications can be signed by electronic signature or through the submission of a scanned copy of the original signature.
- Self-certification—applicants can now self-certify all liquor license applications. As such, applications are no longer required to be notarized.
- Protest period—all persons and groups with standing have 66 days—up from 45—to file a protest.
- Electronic notification—required application notices to ANCs now only need to be sent to an ANC’s DC government-issued email address. Notices do not need to be sent to ANCs by first-class mail while the Emergency and Temporary Acts are in effect. Electronic notice still needs to be provided to the DC Council and the Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.
- Safekeeping—the 21 days that an establishment has to place its license in safekeeping after closing is tolled during the public health emergency.
- Carry-Out and Delivery—Additional Location Registration Form
- Administrative Issuance: Taxicab Delivery During COVID-19
Effective April 4, 2020, taxicab drivers may use their taxi vehicles for prepared food delivery on behalf of commercial food delivery companies . Taxicabs will not be considered for hire when the driver is delivering a prepared food delivery. Taxicab drivers are encouraged to use established pickup-drop off zones (PUDOs) including newly enacted food priority PUDOs.
- Suspension of On-Premises Alcohol Sales and Consumption Due to Public Emergency Notice of Emergency Rulemaking
The prohibition applies to holders of a retailers license Class C or D, including licensed caterers; Class A or B manufacturers holding an on-site sales and consumption permit, festival and temporary license holders and any other license or permit category set forth under Title 25 of the DC Official Code.
Holders of hotel licenses may offer minibars in guest rooms and provide room service.
- Mayor’s Order 2020-048: Prohibition on Mass Gatherings During Public Health Emergency Coronavirus (Mayor’s Order 2020-048)
Order bans all “mass gatherings” which is defined as any event or convening bringing together 50 or more persons at the same time in a single room or other single confined or enclosed space.