The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has taken initial steps to allow Oregon’s alcohol manufacturing and hospitality industries to continue to make limited alcohol deliveries.
Also at its regular monthly meeting on June 18, 2020, Commissioners stiffened fines for alcohol sales to minors and took temporary action to align public safety rules with social distancing guidance. Additionally, the Commission approved stipulated settlements for cases involving three alcohol licensees and clarified definitions for a specific classification of redeemable containers.
In an effort to help businesses survive during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Commission took temporary action to enable licensees to deliver factory sealed containers of alcohol to consumers. The Commission’s action at its June meeting paves the way for those temporary changes to become permanent. The current delivery rules are temporary and will expire this fall. Rulemaking will provide an opportunity for licensees, public safety and health partners to provide advice on these proposed changes, and this summer the Commission will convene a stakeholder meeting as well as a public hearing to gather feedback.
The OLCC remains committed to balancing concerns about public safety while also trying to reduce the economic hardship on Oregon’s craft brewing, distilling and wine making industries, according to OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks. When striking that balance it’s hard to ignore the perilous position of those industries said Marks, citing recent data that Oregon’s craft brewers alone saw a 20% slump in consumer sales.
“The actions that you’ve [the Commission] taken here on home delivery help that segment which has a lot of Oregon craft brew pubs and breweries that are utilizing the home delivery to try to keep their business going,” said Marks.
Another change the Commission made stiffens the penalty for any licensee that sells alcoholic beverages to a minor. During the past year, staff worked with industry and public health partners to increase penalties for alcohol sales to minors, enhance safety protections for minor employees, and limit the sales of CBD alcoholic beverages that are not approved by federal regulators. The changes also broaden the types of acceptable identification and requires licensees to post OLCC licensing documentation prior to the OLCC issuing a permanent license.
In an effort to further protect public safety, the Commission took temporary action limiting the hours of service for alcohol. This aligns the Commission’s rules with both the Governor’s Executive Order 20-27 and Oregon Health Authority Phase One and Phase Two guidance for bars and restaurants. This ensures OLCC has the necessary authority to act against licensees that violate state mandated social distancing guidelines.
Commissioners also clarified the distinction between milk and plant-based milk beverages by defining which type qualifies for redemption. This action removes specific containers from having a redemption value.