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25 March 2020

Takeaway and delivery options a boost for small bars, restaurants and cafes

Small bars and other licensed restaurants and cafes are now able to sell takeaway alcohol and deliveries in a move to reduce the economic impacts of the COVID-19 shutdowns.

The new arrangements came into force on 23 March 2020 and apply while the shutdown order is in force under the Public Health Act 2010.

Executive Director of Policy and Strategy for Liquor & Gaming NSW, John Tansey, said small bars, restaurants and cafes who hold a valid liquor licence can shift their operating models immediately to take advantage of the relaxed laws.

“Liquor & Gaming recognises the COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique set of circumstances that will have significant impacts on business,” Mr Tansey said

“Exceptional times call for exceptional flexibility, so we have adjusted the regulatory response to ensure small bars and other small liquor traders don’t fall through the gaps.

“Takeaway alcohol can be sold and delivered during the existing trading hours specified on your licence, and of course stringent checks to ensure alcohol is not sold to underage or intoxicated people still apply.

“This change also does not allow takeaway or home delivery sales after midnight and anyone selling or supplying alcohol must also have a Responsible Service of Alcohol competency.

“The restrictions on liquor licences are there to keep the community and minors safe and these principles will still be applied while making it possible for small bars and other licensed venues to continue operating.”

There are no current limits on the volume of alcohol that can be supplied or the type of alcohol, however this compliance approach is intended to help small bars, restaurants and other licensed venues maintain business rather than become defacto bottle shops.

If premises are operating beyond the spirit of the compliance approach, Liquor & Gaming will consider further regulatory changes.

The sale or supply of liquor to intoxicated people or minors are some of the most serious offences under the Liquor Act 2007 and attract significant penalties, up to and including a term of imprisonment.

Compliance and enforcement activity will focus on these significant risks to public safety and community wellbeing.

“This is a common-sense approach to the extreme pressure small businesses are under trying to stay afloat,” said Mr Tansey.

“If you’re hunkered down practicing social distancing, you can now enjoy a variety of food and drink options while supporting your local bars, restaurants and cafes.”

More information on policies and procedures, such as appropriate evidence of age and prevention of intoxication, is available on the Liquor & Gaming NSW website.

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