Offering incentives to get the coronavirus vaccine has become commonplace among businesses across America. Krispy Kreme started offering free donuts for vaccinated customers in early April, and many Washington businesses have followed suit. The snag for many businesses who are especially eager to see a return to normal lies with Washington state law that prevents businesses from providing alcohol at no cost to customers.
That is no longer an issue.
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced a temporary allowance for on-premises liquor-licensed businesses to offer one alcoholic beverage to customers in exchange for proof of vaccination.
The announcement from the Liquor and Cannabis Board comes as an increasing number of businesses offer perks for proof of vaccination. Notably, Seattle Fire Department pop-ups vaccinated customers at Dick’s Drive-In in exchange for a burger. Meanwhile, bars and other liquor-licensed establishments wishing to reward their patrons have been forced to offer alcohol at a steep discount instead of giving the drink away. The Liquor and Cannabis Board temporary allowance is effective from May 15 to June 30, 2021, and allows for liquor-licensed establishments to provide one drink at no cost with the following conditions:
- The customer must provide proof of vaccination between May 15 and June 30. This can be the first or second shot.
- Customers are limited to one drink.
- The drink can be paid for by the establishment, or a non-industry member sponsor may pay for the drink.
- The drink and taxes are paid for at cost of production by the licensee or a non-industry sponsor.
- Advertisements and public information provided by licensees related to a drink with vaccination may not contain the words “free” or “complementary” but may indicate a drink will be purchased on the customer’s behalf with proof of vaccination.
As a reminder, selling alcohol responsibly should be the top priority for your business. Owners, managers and employees all have a role in keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors and those who are apparently intoxicated.
You can see the full memo provided by the Liquor and Cannabis board here.