The Ontario government is supporting jobs at local restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries and distilleries during the COVID-19 pandemic by expanding opportunities in alcohol sales, including making the sale of alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders permanent.
"Ontario's vibrant hospitality sector and its workers have been hard hit by COVID-19 in every community across our province," said Attorney General Doug Downey. "We're building on the actions we took early in the pandemic to support local restaurants, bars and other businesses by providing permanent help to workers and small businesses as they face these ongoing challenges."
Ontario previously approved some of these changes on a temporary basis to support businesses significantly impacted by the spread of COVID-19. The province is now permanently allowing licensed restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order.
Additional permanent reforms for the hospitality sector will allow:
- alcohol service on docked boats by operators with a liquor sales licence;
- reduced minimum pricing of spirits consumed on-site, to align with the reduced pricing introduced for takeout and delivery orders;
- the length of time for temporary patio extensions to be set out by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO); and,
- for a requirement that ensures third parties delivering from licensed restaurants and bars have a delivery licence.
The requirements that apply to alcohol sales, service and delivery will continue to apply to boats with a liquor sales licence and liquor delivery services, including checking ID, Smart Serve training and not serving or selling to intoxicated people.
The province is also supporting businesses by:
- removing restrictive rules to allow for the delivery of alcoholic beverages in food boxes and meal kits;
- allowing eligible alcohol manufacturers to deliver their own products and charge a delivery fee;
- allowing restaurants and bars to offer mixed cocktails and growlers as part of a takeout or delivery order; and,
- permitting eligible manufacturers to sell spirits and 100 per cent Ontario wine at farmers markets.
"Local restaurants and bars are essential to community life in this province," said Attorney General Downey. "We are taking actions to provide more opportunities for Ontarians to directly support their local communities when and how public health directives permit."
"The AGCO's focus on delivering strong and effective regulatory services includes looking for every opportunity to reduce burden, simplify rules, and offer greater flexibility," said Tom Mungham, CEO & Registrar, AGCO. "We're pleased to continue partnering with the Government of Ontario to provide meaningful support to the individuals and industries we regulate while protecting the public interest."
- Ontario introduced a number of temporary policy changes to provide relief to businesses in the hospitality sector, including the sale of alcohol with takeout and delivery orders, allowing businesses to extend their patios, allowing licensed boat operators to serve alcohol while docked and reducing the minimum pricing requirements for spirits sold as part of a takeout or delivery order.
- In July, Ontario introduced further changes which made it possible for app-based delivery services to work with alcohol retailers to deliver their products. The changes also allowed licensed liquor delivery services to deliver to any private place.