Compliance Action Comes as State’s COVID-19 Infection Rate Spikes
Inspectors Will Spend Holiday Weekend Making Spot Checks
Portland, OR — Oregon Liquor Control Commission enforcement staff will fan out across the state during the 2020 Independence Day holiday weekend to ensure that restaurants and bars and their customers are complying with state alcohol laws, OLCC rules, and the Governor’s social distancing requirements.
The compliance action comes as the COVID-19 virus has increased across the state, yesterday reaching a new record of 375 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19.
The OLCC has relaxed some regulations to permit alcohol licensees to reconfigure their bar and restaurant space so they could re-open while maintaining social distancing requirements for staff and customers. Under Governor Brown’s Reopening Guidance bars and restaurants in Phase 1 may serve alcohol until 10 PM, under Phase 2 those establishments may stay open until midnight.
In coordination with the Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Administration (Oregon OSHA) the OLCC will conduct spot checks to make sure licensees are following OLCC regulations. OLCC inspectors will be checking to make sure bars and restaurants are not overcrowded, that customers are not overconsuming, and that businesses are closing at the required time.
“We want to make sure our licensees maintain their diligence this holiday weekend and not be complacent,” said Steve Marks OLCC Executive Director. “Quite frankly the health of Oregonians and the ability for bars and restaurants to stay open is dependent on it.”
Where there is a clear violation of Oregon law or OLCC rules, the OLCC will take administrative action against the licensee. If inspectors observe violations of social distancing requirements outside OLCC enforcement authority the agency will report that information to Oregon OSHA for action.
OLCC Provides Phase 1 Guidance to Alcohol Licensees
Adjusts Bottle Bill Compliance to State’s Phase-In Plan
Conditions for Licensees to Reopen Connects with OHA Public Health Directives
Return to Container Redemption Based on Providing Flexibility to Grocers
Requirements for Licensees in Baseline Communities Also Reinforced
PORTLAND, OR. – Today, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission is providing specific guidance for its alcohol licensees operating bars and restaurants in counties approved by Governor Brown for Oregon’s Phase 1 reopening. The OLCC is also informing Oregon grocery retailers about the shift in beverage container redemption compliance for Oregon’s Bottle Bill, which will now be tied to whether or not a county has moved
into Phase 1 or remains in the baseline category.
The OLCC’s direction to alcohol licensees focuses on connecting with guidance for physical distancing and the promotion of public health directives for bars, restaurants and other establishments serving alcohol, from the Oregon Health Authority. The OLCC is allowing alcohol licensees greater flexibility in creating more usable customer space because OHA social distancing guidelines require bars and restaurants to provide more physical space between patrons. OLCC licensees may customize existing space, normally off-limits to minors, if in making the adjustment the primary use of the space is to serve food. Licensees are also allowed to expand into additional indoor areas or onto
sidewalks, parking lots, or streets with the permission of the property owner or local government.
Only businesses with a current OLCC license may sell and serve alcohol for drinking on or off the licensed establishment. A bar or restaurant with a liquor liability insurance (LLI) requirement must have current LLI that meets minimum coverage requirements prior to re-starting the sale or service of alcoholic beverages for onpremises consumption. Earlier the OLCC announced it would not take compliance action against licensees that allowed their LLI coverage to lapse and then restarted it. Restaurant and bar licensees in baseline phase counties will need to maintain the status quo as reflected in the Governor’s Executive Order 20-25, which includes a ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol at food establishments. However, bars and restaurants in baseline phase areas can continue to provide curbside delivery of beer, wine and cider, or deliver to customers’ homes.
May 15, 2020
OLCC Reopening Phase 1
On March 15, 2020, in an effort to allow stores to appropriately manage the COVID-19 crisis, OLCC suspended enforcing the requirement for retailers to accept empty beverage container returns for refunds as required by the Oregon Bottle Bill. The previous notice of non-enforcement was set to end on May 31. However, moving forward, the OLCC will link non-compliance enforcement to the Governor’s Phased Reopening plan. This notice
replaces the previous notice. Phase I has been announced for reopening counties, so OLCC will re-start its compliance enforcement in these areas after May 29th.
No later than two weeks after a county enters Phase 1, retailers in the county will be
required to resume accepting empty beverage containers from customers, both through their reverse vending machines and by hand count. (For example: counties entering Phase 1 on May 15 will have two weeks to become compliant by May 29.)
For counties that remain in the baseline phase, the OLCC will continue to suspend enforcement requiring retailers to accept empty container returns, until the county progresses to Phase 1. If a county reverses direction from Phase 1 to the baseline phase, the OLCC then will re-suspend enforcement for retailers declining to accept
beverage container returns until the county re-enters Phase 1.
For retailers required to resume accepting redeemable beverage containers, the number of empty containers retailers are required to accept remains the same as prior to the COVID-19 non-enforcement period, either 24, 50, or 144. Our industry partners, including Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative and Northwest Grocers Association, are
working on plans to accommodate returns while maintaining physical distancing and other requirements to ensure the safety of customers and store personnel. The OLCC also advises customers that due to social distancing and high demand during Phase 1 reopening, retailers may not be able to accommodate all individuals
who wish to return containers in a given day. “Bottle redemption in Oregon requires a close collaboration between private retailers, beverage container recyclers and the OLCC, that has limited enforcement responsibilities,” said Steve Marks, OLCC Executive
Director. “The OLCC appreciates the leadership provided by the Northwest Grocers Association and the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative in designing an orderly process to safely resume the service of beverage container redemption in Oregon under the Phase I reopening of Oregon.”
April 8, 2020
Aligns With Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles, Law Enforcement Position During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Portland, OR — The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will allow alcohol and marijuana licensees to accept expired Oregon driver licenses or identification cards that expired, on or after March 8, 2020, as an acceptable form of identification.
This decision aligns with the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles and law enforcement position, as DMV offices are closed because of the COVID-19 public health crisis preventing individuals from renewing their driver’s license or ID cards.
This temporary exception only applies to driver licenses and identification cards issued by the State of Oregon. This exception will remain in place while the Governor’s Executive Order 20-03 remains in effect.
On March 8, 2020, Governor Brown declared an emergency due to the public health threat posed by the novel infectious coronavirus (COVID-19).
On March 20, 2020, The Oregon DMV asked law enforcement to exercise discretion in enforcing violations due to expired credentials.
The Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriff’s Association and the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police have agreed to support this “grace period” for suspending enforcement of expired credential violations, including expired driver’s licenses and identification cards.
Information about COVID-19 related changes to OLCC rules, program and compliance/enforcement can be found on the OLCC COVID-19 Business Continuity page on the OLCC website.
For News Media needing additional information, contact:
Matthew Van Sickle at 503-872-5002
Alcohol Program Public Affairs
Mark Pettinger at 503-872-5115
Spokesperson – Recreational Marijuana Program
The penalty for businesses that sell alcohol to underage people in Oregon could double. That’s under a proposal being considered by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
A Harrisburg teen who lost his leg in a car wreck is suing the drunk driver who crashed into him — along with the Salem brewery accused of over-serving the driver— for $3.5 million.
New Texas laws go into effect this Sept. 1 which were passed by the Texas Legislature earlier this year. Here are a few of the big ones:
Beer To Go
Craft breweries can now sell up to a case of beer per customer, per day, to go.
Restaurants, bars or businesses with a permit can deliver alcohol with food to homes or other locations.
(Published Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019)
Forensic Testing of Rape Kits
A new law will add staffing and money for forensic testing of rape kits. It will require an audit of untested kits and extend the statute of limitations. The law is named after Lavinia Masters, whose rape wasn’t tested for 20 years after she was sexually assaulted at 13 years old.
Welcome to Bar Raised, our recurring column that proves that Texans like to spend copious amounts of their income participating in the Great American Pastime. We know this because, as Reddit user BadLemur once pointed out, the Texas Comptroller keeps tabs on that sort of thing and makes all that info public record. Any establishment in the state that holds a Mixed Beverage license must report all sales revenue generated from the sale of liquor, beer and wine at their establishments on a monthly basis. The comptroller, in turn, puts all that info into a conveniently navigable database. And then we break down Dallas’ numbers for you here.
Bars are filled with people trying to look cool.
Maybe you’re trying to impress your squad. Maybe you’re trying, and failing, to woo someone on a first date.
Or maybe you just want to appear cool in front of me, your bartender.
And why not? Bartenders are hip. We stand in front of people and do things most people probably can’t do.
So it’s no surprise that folks sometimes try to impress us — or at least not disappoint us — when it’s their big moment in front of us: ordering a drink.
No matter what kind of drink you order, we’ll happily make it with a smile. But that said, there are some types of drinks we’ll secretly judge you for requesting.
Here are 16 orders that bartenders are sure to secretly judge you for: