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Your voice matters: what’s on tap with new alcohol sales and service rules

Jul 21, 2021 | Reopening 2021, Restaurant Reopening Guide

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) is inviting the public to comment on draft rules related to temporary alcohol to-go policies enacted by the Legislature earlier this year. This public comment meeting will be an excellent opportunity to share your stories about how important alcohol to-go sales have been for your business.

Alcohol sales are one of the most profitable aspects of hospitality businesses. And they’re also one of the most highly regulated.

When the pandemic first surfaced and businesses were forced to drastically scale back their operations, the Washington Hospitality Association’s Government Affairs team worked with state regulators to enact temporary allowances on alcohol sales. These temporary measures provided opportunities for hospitality businesses to continue serving the public while the state went through various stages of lockdowns.

Allowing curbside, takeout and delivery sales of cocktails, growlers, and other alcohol products made all the difference between staying open and closing permanently for many businesses. The overall popularity and success of this experiment was instrumental in HB 1480 being approved by the Legislature this session.

HB 1480 enacted — permanently and semi-permanently — many of the temporary allowances. Now the LCB is drafting rules to implement HB 1480.

Your voice is a critical part of this process! Lawmakers heard from you loud and clear during the legislative session just how important these expanded liquor sales and services are to hospitality businesses. Now state regulators need to hear from you during the rule-making process.

When: Thursday, August 5, 2021, 1 – 4 p.m.
Where: Join on your computer or smart phone app using Microsoft (MS) Teams.
Additional Information:

Click here to join the meeting on August 5 at 1 p.m.

Note: There is no pre-registration process. Simply join online when the meeting convenes. Microsoft Teams is the only platform you can use to contribute your comments live during the meeting. You can also submit your comments to if you’re unable to attend the meeting.

On a related note, many of the temporary rules enacted by the LCB during the pandemic were made permanent or semi-permanent by the Legislature. Therefore, most of these rules are set to expire on July 31.

One exception to this is the temporary rule that allows minors to access designated 21+ lounge areas. This provided restaurants with flexibility during the various lockdown phases that enacted capacity limits.

This rule will expire on July 31 now that restaurants are allowed to operate at full capacity. At that time, minors will no longer be allowed in 21+ designated areas.