The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has said it will temporarily allow licenced premises to supply liquor for both home delivery and off-premise consumption.
Additionally the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) in Queensland is allowing takeaway alcohol sales and the NSW regulator has issued a statement of intent to also allow this.
In detailing the temporary changes in Victoria, the VCGLR issued the following statement:
With recent announcements from the Prime Minister and Victorian Premier on Sunday 22 March, we are working with licensees to support temporary limited licence options. We will be waiving all application fees associated with the following temporary limited licence applications (our online application system is currently being updated to reflect this).
If you hold a restaurant and cafe or on-premises liquor licence, and there are no conditions on your licence that already permit the supply of liquor for consumption off your licensed premises, you can apply for a temporary limited licence to supply a limited quantity of liquor for off-premises consumption.
Licensees who operate a restaurant and hold either an on-premises or restaurant and cafe licence may apply for a temporary limited licence that authorises the supply, for off premises consumption, of limited quantities of liquor to customers who are purchasing a meal. This limit is one bottle of wine, OR one six pack of beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits. Customers may purchase this liquor either when ordering a meal for delivery, or when picking up a meal to take away. Please note that liquor cannot be supplied if a meal is not also being purchased in the same transaction.
Licensees who hold an on-premises licence and do not operate a restaurant, may apply for a temporary limited licence that authorises the supply of limited quantities of liquor for delivery to customers. This limit is two bottles of wine or two six packs of beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits, OR one bottle of wine and one six pack of beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits.
Licences that allow the supply of liquor for consumption off the licensed premises, can operate a delivery service and allow customers to purchase liquor to take away.
Delivery of liquor
Delivery drivers should sight identification of persons receiving orders that include liquor to ensure they are not delivering to someone under the age of 18. There is no requirement to physically handle the identification produced.
Liquor licensees are also responsible for verifying the age of their customers for liquor supplied from their licensed premises, including in the case of delivery.
These temporary liquor licences will only be in force until the earlier of 15 September 2020 or the date on which the Declared State of Emergency Victoria in response to COVID-19 on 16 March 2020 ceases to be in force.
Licensees who wish to apply for a temporary limited licence can apply online, see: Temporary Limited Licence application
We will make every effort to determine these applications within 72 hours (3 business days). Please note that in some circumstances, including where applications are incomplete, this may take longer.
In Queensland the Commissioner for Liquor, Gaming and Fair Trading, also issued a statement, saying:
Sale of takeaway food and alcohol by clubs and hotels
Community clubs and hotels can provide take away food and alcohol that cannot be consumed inside or adjacent to the venue (i.e. within a food court, the dining area of a food outlet or outside dining areas attached to the venue).
They can also operate takeaway liquor sale areas that are detached from the licensed venue, or within or attached to the licensed venue (i.e. detached and attached bottle shops and takeaway sales from the bar area).
Sale of takeaway alcohol by cafés and restaurants
Licensed restaurants and cafes holding a current liquor licence that will supply takeaway food, can supply takeaway alcohol or delivery, subject to the following conditions:
The takeaway alcohol can only be supplied in conjunction with a take away food order
The takeaway alcohol can only consist of bottled or canned beer, wine, cider and ready to drink beverages, such as premixed spirits
A maximum limit of 2.25 litres of alcohol applies and can only be sold in conjunction with a takeaway food order (that is up to 2.25 litres per food order).
For NSW Liquor and Gaming NSW said:
Not all licensed premises are authorised to sell alcohol for consumption off the premise. In these circumstances, Liquor & Gaming NSW will take a common-sense and pragmatic approach to enforcing the liquor and gaming laws. In particular, it is recognised that the risk profile of certain venues has changed and measures put in place to manage these risks are, in the current environment, largely redundant
While legislative requirements remain in force, Liquor & Gaming NSW will have regard to the unprecedented pressures on industry and take a reasonable and proportionate response to compliance.
This includes where a licensed premises, such as a restaurant, café or small bar, does not have authorisation for the sale or supply of liquor for consumption away from the premises, but wishes to provide take-away or home delivery services.
Liquor & Gaming NSW will generally take a supportive and educative approach to compliance with these requirements during this time except in cases of significant risks to patrons or the community, and will also take into consideration genuine attempts to comply with licence conditions and other requirements.
It is important to note that compliance and enforcement activity will continue, but with a primary focus on matters that pose significant risk to public safety and community wellbeing, and in particular the sale or supply of alcohol to intoxicated persons or minors. These offences are considered to be some of the most serious under the Liquor Act 2007 and attract significant penalties, up to and including a term of imprisonment.
Changes to the Liquor Regulation 2018 will be progressed to provide certainty to these arrangements. This compliance approach will remain in place until such time as changes can be made to the Liquor Regulation 2018 to formalise these arrangements, or for as long as the Public Health (COVID-19 Places of Social Gathering) Order 2020 remains in force, unless otherwise advised.
Policies, procedures and controls around take-away sales and home deliveries
All licenced premises making take-away sales or undertaking home deliveries should have a system of controls in place to ensure that liquor is not sold to minors or to intoxicated persons. The Liquor & Gaming NSW website, www.liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au, contains more information on appropriate evidence of age and prevention of intoxication, which may assist in preparing policies and procedures and clarifying legislative obligations.
Liquor & Gaming NSW will continue to monitor the situation and engage with industry and industry representatives as appropriate.
A South Australian Government Spokesperson told Bars and Clubs: “Across the country, conditions are changing as measures are initiated in response to the coronavirus.
“The State Government is currently assessing what steps might be taken in relation to liquor licensing requirements that can support the sector during this challenging time, and will advise venues of any action that will be taken in due course.”
Bars and Clubs has contacted regulators in the other states and territories for details on what they are doing for licensed premises at this time, and will bring those updates as soon as we get them.