ABRA's Last Call Newsletter: November/December 2020 Edition

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Last Call Newsletter

NOV/DEC 2020

Phase 2 Modification

On Tuesday, November 24, the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board adopted emergency rulemaking incorporating two Phase Two modifications included in Mayor’s Order 2020-119 and revised the alcohol carry-out and delivery hours.

Effective Wednesday, November 25, all indoor and outdoor on-premises alcohol sales, service, and consumption must end at 10:00 p.m. Table and bar seating must be cleared of all alcoholic beverages by the stop-service time. Establishments may not extend a courtesy grace period of any length of time to patrons to be able to finish partially or entirely undrunk alcoholic beverages after 10:00 p.m.  

Establishments may remain open for indoor and outdoor on-premises dining—sans alcohol service— until 12:00 a.m. daily. Patrons are similarly not permitted to remain on-premises to consume unfinished meals after midnight.

A licensee may continue to remain open to sell prepared food only for carry-out and delivery until the closing hour printed on their alcohol license.

Additionally, alcohol sales for carry-out and delivery have been reduced by one (1) hour to 6:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m. daily to be consistent with Mayor’s Order 2020-119. Alcohol carry-out and delivery require advance registration with ABRA.

All other Phase Two guidelines affecting alcohol establishments remain in effect including:

  • Patron spacing | All patrons must be seated at least six (6) feet apart from other parties. Max six (6) persons per table.
  • Face coverings and masks | Patrons must always wear a face covering or mask when not actively eating or drinking. Staff must always wear one.
  • Bar service | Parties may sit at a bar—spaced at least six (6) feet apart from other parties—if the bar is not being staffed by a bartender.
  • Food service | Establishments must offer a prepared food menu with at least three (3) options and require the purchase of at least one (1) item per party.
  • Music and entertainment | No live entertainment including DJs, vocalists, ensembles, drag shows, trivia, and nude dancing is permitted. Activities that require close contact such as pool, bowling, darts, and dancing are also prohibited. Background music is allowed is at a conversational level.

Updated Phase Two guidance, including a one-pager and slide deck from the recent Phase Two Modification Information Session, is available at abra.dc.gov/phasetwo.

NLLEA Award 2

On Wednesday, November 18, the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association (NLLEA) named the District of Columbia’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) the recipient of the 2020 Innovative Alcohol Law Enforcement Program of the Year Award during its annual business meeting.

ABRA was awarded national recognition for its multi-pronged approach to enforcing local alcohol laws, Mayor's Orders, and emergency rulemakings during the ongoing public health emergency, while launching bold new opportunities such as alcohol carry-out and delivery, new and expanded outdoor dining, and pop-ups to help hard-hit businesses safely reopen and meet the wide-ranging needs and comfort levels of patrons.

ABRA is a four-time NLLEA honoree having previously received the non-profit association’s Agency of the Year award in 2018 and its Innovative Alcohol Law Enforcement Program of the Year award in 2009 and 2017.


Licensees are advised to mark their calendars with the following deadlines:

  • Wine Production Report | January 15
    Establishments with a Wine Pub Permit are required to submit an annual wine production report detailing:

    • Type(s) of wine produced, or reasonable efforts made to produce wine on the licensed premises the previous calendar year, AND
    • Name(s) and title(s) of the vintner(s), or other person(s), who produced or made reasonable efforts to produce the wine.

      Permit holders will be emailed filing instructions in mid to late December.

  • Q4 Statement | January 30
    Alcohol licensed restaurants and hotels are required to file quarterly statements reporting the previous period’s gross sales receipts and total expenses (regardless of amount) for food and alcohol. Q4 statements must cover activity from October through December 2020. All statements must be submitted online.

  • Semiannual Caterers Report | January 30
    Alcohol-licensed caterers are required to submit semiannual reports that provide sales and expenditures for both alcoholic beverages and food. The upcoming due report must cover all activity from July through December. A report must be submitted regardless of the amount of sales or expenditures, including during the period concurrent with the public health emergency. All statements must be submitted online.

  • Farmer’s Market | Ongoing
    Licenses must be renewed annually from the license issue date. Renewal reminders are not mailed to licensees.

  • ABC Manager | Ongoing
    Licenses must be renewed every three (3) years from the license issue date. Renewal reminders are not mailed to licensees.

Inauguration Planning

Due to the ongoing public health emergency, no determinations have yet been made regarding service hours for alcohol establishments in conjunction with the 59th Presidential Inauguration.  

Under normal conditions, eligible alcohol establishments are permitted, with advance registration, to sell and serve alcohol until 4:00 a.m., and stay open 24-hours on Inauguration Day—occurring every four years on January 20—and select preceding and succeeding days.

The Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Support Act of 2020 increased the number of days eligible for extended hours from seven (7) to 16, but Mayor’s Order 2020-119 and ABC Board emergency rulemaking currently limit on-premises alcohol consumption from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., daily.

The ABC Board will make a determination, informed by guidance from DC Health, in the coming weeks. Details will be published on inauguration.dc.gov and abra.dc.gov.

Virtual Trainings

ABRA hosts free trainings and information sessions year-round. Advance registration is required.

ABC Manager applicants must successfully complete an ABC-approved alcohol awareness training. Approved providers are detailed at abra.dc.gov/node/734882. Fees may apply.