ABRA's Last Call Newsletter: September/October 2020 Edition

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Last Call Newsletter

SEP/OCT 2020


On October 1, 2020, several provisions included in the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2020 (FY21 BSA) took effect. Permanent legislation, signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser, is currently under congressional review.

Changes include:

  • Permanently allows alcohol carry-out/delivery, extended hours
    On-premises retailers may permanently sell alcohol for carry-out and delivery between 6:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. daily—an increase of two (2) hours per day. All alcohol sales must continue to be accompanied by at least one (1) prepared food item.

    Registration with ABRA is required. Registered licensees do not need to take any action to modify their carry-out and delivery hours.

    Licensees will be required to secure a Carry-Out and Delivery Endorsement to continue alcohol delivery on or after April 1, 2021. Additional guidance is forthcoming.
  • Moved up alcohol sales start time, extended alcohol delivery time window
    On-premises retailers and manufacturers may start alcohol sales two (2) hours earlier at 6:00 a.m. daily.

    Off-premises retailers may offer alcohol for off-premises sales and delivery for two (2) more hours from 6:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. daily.

    Licensees must submit a Change of Hours Application. All applications are subject to approval by the ABC Board.
  • Increased number of dates eligible for extended hours
    Six (6) additional days were added to the Extended Holiday Hours Program, and the Presidential Inaugural Week was extended to a 16-day period. On eligible dates, registered establishments can serve alcohol till 4:00 a.m. and operate 24-hours a day. Separate registration is required for both programs.

    However, in effect Mayor’s Orders and ABC Board emergency rulemaking have temporarily suspended extended hours and on-premises sales and service is limited to 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. daily.

    Applications for the Extended Holiday Hours Program are accepted on a rolling basis. Guidance on the Presidential Inaugural Week is forthcoming.
  • Enacted games of skill legislation, created alcohol license endorsement
    Implements Games of Skill legislation providing oversight authority to the Office of Lottery and Gaming, requires alcohol establishments to secure a Games of Skill Endorsement from ABRA, and increases the permitted maximum number of devices to five (5) per establishment.

Applications and related resources are now available at abra.dc.gov/page/medicalcannabis.

Additional guidance is included in the slide deck from our virtual FY21 Budget Support Act Info Session originally held on September 24.

Phase 2 Update

As of October 14, the District of Columbia remains in Phase Two and all guidelines announced on June 22 remain in effect with the exception of service hour changes made effective by the FY21 BSA, including:

  • On-Premises Retailers and Manufacturers with an On-Site Sales and Consumption Permit may start alcohol sales at 6:00 a.m.
  • On-Premises Retailers may permanently sell alcohol for carry-out and delivery with at least one (1) prepared food item from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., daily.

To assist licensees impacted by the coronavirus, the District has announced that:

Licensees are also reminded that the Extended Hours Program is temporarily suspended and on-premises consumption is limited to 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. daily.

Updated Deadline

All Class B alcohol licenses expired on September 30, 2020.

Establishments that do not renew their license by October 28 will receive a Notice to Cease and Desist. The ABC Board will then cancel non-renewed licenses on November 18, 2020.

Licensees that do not intend to renew their alcohol license must email a signed letter requesting license cancellation to abc@dc.gov.

The next renewal cycle is for Class A and AI alcohol licenses. Renewal packets will mail in late winter and are due on March 31, 2021.  

As a reminder, the ABC Board in August 2020, adopted emergency rulemaking waiving late fees for all On-Premises Retailer, Caterer, Manufacturer, Wholesaler, Solicitor, and ABC Manager license holders whose annual and renewal license fees were coming due on July 31 or September 30, 2020.

Additionally, if any of the aforementioned licenses are cancelled, the licensee may request reinstatement of the license until May 3, 2021, without the payment of any late fees provided that all annual and renewal licensing fees are paid.

New Legislation

The ABC Board hosted hearings and received public comment for the following proposed rulemakings:

On Thursday, October 8, ABRA Director Fred Moosally delivered testimony to the Committee on Business and Economic Development on three pieces of legislation:

Updated Upcoming deadline

Q3 Statement | Friday, October 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. Q3 Statements must cover activity from July through September 2020. All statements must be submitted online.

Virtual Trainings

ABRA is committed to developing and hosting year round continuing education opportunities for new and seasoned entrepreneurs and their staff, and DC residents. Registration is required for all trainings.

Upcoming opportunities include:

Persons interested in receiving an ABC Manager license must successfully complete and provide a certificate from an ABC Board-approved alcohol awareness training program along with their license application. Program providers are detailed online.

Board Calendar

The 2021 ABC Board and ABRA Office calendar is now available.

The ABC Board convenes every Wednesday except when in recess. Hearings are open to the public, including the media. Due to COVID-19, all public hearings are being held virtually.

Additionally, customers are encouraged to note the holidays that ABRA’s office will be closed so they may plan ahead for services. During office closures customers are encouraged to visit abra.dc.gov.

Upcoming dates to note:

  • ABC Board Recess | November 11, 2020, November 25, 2020 and December 16, 2020 – December 30, 2020
  • ABRA Office Closure | Thursday, November 26, 2020, and Friday, December 25, 2020