ABRA's Last Call Newsletter: January/February 2021 Edition

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Last Call Newsletter

JAN/FEB 2021

Phase 2 Update

As of February 4, the District remains in Phase Two with limited indoor dining reinstituted and modified service hours in effect.  

Modifications include:

  • Indoor dining is limited to 25 percent capacity of the lowest seat count included on the DCRA-issued Certificate of Occupancy. Capacity maximums apply to tents and temporary structures with three (3) or more sides, and summer gardens with closed retractable roofs. Igloos seating individual parties of six (6) persons or less are exempt.
  • Outdoor dining continues to be permitted between 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m., daily, with on-premises alcohol service and consumption required to end by 10:00 p.m., daily. Previously, on-premises alcohol consumption was permitted from 6:00 a.m. -- 12:00 a.m., daily.
  • Alcohol sales for carry-out and delivery are allowed between 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m., daily, with advance registration with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). Previously, alcohol carry-out and delivery was permitted from 6:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m., daily.

Comprehensive Phase Two guidelines, including table capacity maximums and patron spacing requirements, are detailed at abra.dc.gov/page/phase-two-reopen-dc.

Potential violations can be reported by:


On November 4, 2020, the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board adopted emergency rulemaking to reinstate funding for the Reimbursable Detail Subsidy Program and modify hours of eligibility. The rulemaking is now in effect.

Through the program, select licensees or Business Improvement Districts may retain off-duty Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers to patrol their licensed premises at a reduced cost during eligible hours. ABRA pays 65 percent of the incurred costs, and the licensee pays the balance.

Hours of eligibility have been modified from 11:30 p.m. – 5:00 am., daily to 2:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m., daily to be in better alignment with reduced hours of operation permitted during Phase Two.

Licensees interested in enrolling in the program or making revisions to their current schedule must contact MPD directly at psn.adminbox@dc.gov or (202) 576-6600.

New Legislation

Reopen Washington DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Amendment Act of 2021  
Introduced by Mayor Muriel Bowser on January 25, the Reopen Washington DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration Amendment Act of 2021, represents a bold and innovative approach to boosting the District’s economic recovery, removing hurdles to launching and growing businesses, addressing food deserts, and creating opportunities to engage and attract residents and visitors.

ABRA will be hosting a virtual information session on the legislation on Monday, February 22 from 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Open to the public; advance registration is required.

Civil Penalty Notice of Final Rulemaking - 67 DCR 14197
The approved rulemaking updates the civil penalty schedule by incorporating new infractions and penalties, removing duplicative infractions, and amending the descriptions of existing infractions.

The Council held a hearing on October 8, 2020 and passed the resolution approving the proposed rule on October 20, 2020. The ABC Board approved the final rules on November 18, 2020.

Chapter 2 (License and Permit Categories) Notice of Second Proposed Rulemaking - 67 DCR 14206
The proposed rulemaking amends Chapter 2 and Chapter 7 of Title 23 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations. Some amendments include revising and clarifying auction permits, and renaming and revising the requirements for wine and beer permits. The ABC Board approved and submitted the rulemaking to the DC Council for review.

Second-year License Fees Notice of Emergency Rulemaking - 67 DCR 14318
As introduced, the rulemaking suspends late fees imposed on ABC-licensees who failed to renew their licenses by the deadline of July 31, 2020 or September 30, 2020, and delaying the issuance of orders to cease operations until March 4, 2021 and waives the fees for nightclubs second-year annual payment until September 30, 2021. 

Notice of Emergency Rulemaking - Temporary Operating Retail Permit
The emergency rulemaking suspends, for the duration of the public health emergency, the requirement that licensed establishments must not be closed for more than thirty (30) day prior to the request for a Temporary Operating Retail Permit (TORP).

Langdon Park Moratorium Zone
The rulemaking renews the moratorium for an additional three (3) years; and amends the moratorium to prohibit ABC-licensed establishments located within the moratorium zone from expanding their licensed premises onto adjoining properties or lots, except for purposes of increasing onsite parking. The ABC Board approved and submitted the rulemaking to the DC Council for review.


Quick Guide

To help licensees and residents understand the ABC laws and regulations applicable to specific license types, businesses, and activities, ABRA maintains a series of Quick Guides—brief ABC law synopses written in plain language—online.

Several Quick Guides have recently been updated to reference law changes including:

Please note that Quick Guides do not include all DC alcoholic beverage laws. Complete regulations can be found in DC Official Code Title 25 and DC Municipal Regulation (DCMR) Title 23.


Class A license renewals | March 31
The following license types and classes are set to expire—Manufacturer A and C, Wholesaler A, Off-Premises Retailer A, and Internet Retailer IA.

Renewal packets will be mailed to licensees in early to mid-February. Once received, licensees can renew their license via mail or placed in ABRA’s Self-Service Kiosk and Payment Dropbox located immediately outside ABRA’s office doors.

All renewed licenses will be valid up to three (3) years and expire on March 31, 2024 for those licensees that make annual payments for all three years of the renewal period. Licensees have the option of paying fees annually or for multiple years.

In anticipation of packets being mailed, licensees should:

  • Update their mailing address, email, and/or phone number with the agency if any information has changed.
  • Verify they are in good corporate standing with the District’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.
  • Ensure all outstanding taxes and fines are paid.

Renewals not received by the deadline will be subject to a late fee of $50 per business day, starting on Thursday, April 1, 2021, not to exceed the cost of the license, and potential cancellation.

If you would like to update your contact information or have any questions you can contact ABRA’s licensing division at abc@dc.gov or (202) 442-4423.

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

Farmers Market (one year from issuance)
Licenses must be renewed annually from the license issue date. Renewal reminders are not mailed to licensees.

Virtual Trainings

ABRA Orientation for ANC Commissioners
Multiple Sessions—Thursday, February 18 at 10:00 a.m.; Saturday, February 20 at 12:00 p.m., and Tuesday, February 23 at 6:30 p.m.
A primer course focused on introducing newly elected and re-elected Advisory Neighborhood Commission commissioners to key agency functions and processes, and alcohol and medical cannabis laws and regulations.

Registration is limited to current ANC commissioners. All other parties are invited to register for the Community Training on Thursday, March 25.

Reopen Washington DC Alcohol Act Information Session
Monday, February 22 at 2:00 p.m.

This information session will highlight key provisions included in Mayor Bowser’s new legislation focused on boosting the District’s economic recovery, removing hurdles to launching and growing businesses, addressing food deserts, and creating opportunities to engage and attract residents and visitors.

ID Compliance
Monday, March 15 at 10:00 a.m.

A foundation course focused on preventing underage drinking by reducing youth access to alcohol through retailer education.

ABC 101
Tuesday, March 23 at 10:30 a.m.

A foundation course designed to introduce prospective and new ABC license holders—specifically on-premises and off-premises retailers and manufacturers—to ABRA and key ABC basics.

Community Training
Thursday, March 25 at 10:30 a.m.

A foundation course created to help DC residents and community groups better understand the mission and responsibilities of ABRA and alcohol license and laws basics.

Books and Records for Hotels and Restaurants
April 6 at 10:30 a.m.
Introduction to books and records legal requirements for hotels and restaurants and how to successfully complete and submit quarterly statements.

Common Violations and How to Avoid Them
Friday, April 16 at 10:30 a.m.
A learning session focused on helping alcohol licensees get and stay in compliance with alcohol laws and regulations—including during Phase Two—and avoid fines and license suspensions or revocation.