ABRA's Last Call Newsletter: March/April 2020 Edition

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Last Call Newsletter

MAR/APR 2020

Coronavirus update

As of March 12, 2020, ABRA is maintaining regular office operations Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

That said, out of abundance of caution, we are encouraging customers to mail in any and all payments and/or applications and get answers to questions by email, phone, and online.

Additionally, all of ABRA's in-person trainings are postponed until further notice.

During this dynamic time we strongly encourage all persons to adhere to the guidelines included on the DC Government’s Coronavirus online resource.  

To prevent the spread of germs, you should:

  • Multiple times a day, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. This includes keyboards, desk and mobile phones, copier, kitchen appliances, etc.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you have symptoms of acute respiratory illness.
  • Stay home from work or school until you are free of fever, signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours and without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medications.
  • Seek medical attention if you have reason to believe you have been exposed to coronavirus or influenza. Call your healthcare provider before visiting a healthcare facility.
  • Avoid large gatherings of people (1K+ more persons) particularly if in poorly circulated locations.

We appreciate your support and participation in fighting the spread of COVID-19. We encourage all persons to regularly visit coronavirus.dc.gov and register for AlertDC.

New Board Members Appointed

The final open Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board seats have been filled with the recent appointments of Jeni Hansen and Edward S. Grandis 

Ms. Hansen, an event strategist and media consultant, also runs operations at Bené Millinery, owned by her grandmother, centenarian entrepreneur Vanilla Beane. Ms. Hansen currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Boston College Alumni Association, and also its esteemed Women's Council. 

Mr. Grandis has more than 30 years of experience in working with business owners on transactional and governmental matters, business improvement districts (BID), and energy and environment public policy. Most recently, he served as the attorney and then the Executive Director of the Anacostia BID Corporation.  

Ms. Hansen and Mr. Grandis were sworn in by Steve Walker, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Appointments, on February 12, 2020 and March 11, 2020 respectively for terms ending on May 7, 2023. 

Ms. Hansen and Mr. Grandis, both Ward 2 residents, join Board Chairperson Donovan Anderson (Ward 7), Bobby Cato, Jr. (Ward 5), Rafi Aliya Crockett (Ward 5), James Short, Jr. (Ward 7), and Rema Wahabzadah (Ward 6). 

Nominations to the ABC Board are made by Mayor Muriel Bowser and approved by the DC Council. The board convenes every Wednesday unless stated on the Board’s Calendar 

Four New Alcohol Bills in Effect

On Friday, February 21, 2020, four alcohol laws introduced by Mayor Bowser became law. 

Notable improvements by law include: 

  • Persons 18+ may deliver alcoholic beverages off-site including to DC residences. 
  • ABC Manager licenses go from being valid for two (2) to three (3) years, along with the alcohol awareness certification required for the license. 
  • Physical licenses must continue to be prominently displayed onsite but are no longer required to be placed behind glass. 
  • DC wineries, including cideries, can sell collaboration wines in growlers and crowlers, and breweries can offer their collaboration beers in crowlers—growlers were previously allowed, for off-site enjoyment. 
  • The maximum ABV allowance for wine manufactured in DC jumps from 15 to 21 percent. 
  • Pub Permit holders can manufacture wine, beer, and spirits in a second location that is within 600 feet of their licensed premises. 
  • Pub Crawl licenses are valid for three (3) calendar years—up from one (1) calendar year. 
  • The cap of one (1) Off-Premises Retailer’s Class B license in hotels per licensee removed. 
  • Wholesalers can deliver alcoholic beverages to retailers on Sundays 
  • License holders are prohibited, with some exceptions, to protest an alcohol license application. 
  • Licensees that close or cease operations for 21+ days must place their license in safekeeping. Previously any closure or ceasing of operations required the license to be placed in safekeeping. 

Emergency Legislation Signed Into Law

On February 27, 2020, Mayor Bowser signed into law the Games of Skill Consumer Protection Emergency Amendment Act of 2019 

Key provisions include: 

  • Restricting devices to manufacturers with an on-site consumption permit, restaurants, nightclubs, taverns, hotels, and multipurpose facilities. 
  • Requiring licensees to obtain a Games of Skill Endorsement. 
  • Prohibiting persons under 18 years of age from playing. 
  • Capping the total number of devices to three (3) per establishment. 
  • Requiring legal guidance from the District’s Office of the Attorney General, similar to AL-19-696stating that the terminal or device is a legally permissible game of skill. 
  • Requiring security cameras and the posting of warning signs. 

The Act will expire on May 27, 2020. 

The Games of Skill Consumer Protection Temporary Amendment Act of 2019 passed on second reading on March 3, 2020 and has been transmitted to Mayor Bowser for consideration. Permanent legislation is forthcoming.  

Application instructions and forms are available at abra.dc.gov. 

Additional Legislation and Rule-making Update

Referred to Committee on Business and Economic Development: 

  • District of Champions Extension of Hours Amendment Act of 2020As introduced, the Act would provide the ABC Board the authority to allow on-premises retailer licensees or manufacturers holding an on-site sales and consumption permit, and temporary licensees, to sell alcoholic beverages until 4:00 a.m. and operate 24-hours a day on those days in which a DC professional sports team is playing in the postseason.  

Now in effect:  

Upcoming Deadlines

Extended Holiday Hours  
DC Emancipation Day | Wednesday evening, April 15, 2020 – Thursday morning, April 16, 2020. Registration deadline is Tuesday, March 17, 2020. 

Memorial Day Weekend | Friday evening, May 222020 – Monday morning, May 25, 2020.  Registration deadline is Monday, April 27, 2020. 

Through the District’s Extended Holiday Hours Program, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotels, and manufacturers with an on-site sales and consumption permit can apply to be allowed to see and serve alcohol until 4:00 a.m. and operate 24/7 over select holiday periods.   

Once approved, the registration is valid for all eligible holidays for future years. There is no cost to apply or participate. 

Annual Payments | Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Annual payments for select license types and classes are coming due: They include: 

Licensees are encouraged to mail in payments to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Late payments are subject to late charges and license suspension and/or revocation. Fee amounts and instructions detailed at 

Restaurant and Hotel Q1 Statement | Thursday, April 30, 2020 
ABC-licensed restaurants and hotels are required to file quarterly statements reporting the previous period’s gross sales receipts and total expenses for food and alcohol. Q4 Statements must cover activity from January through March 2020.