In a bid to support bars, restaurants and alcohol retailers, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announced temporary measures today that will mean you can buy beer at the grocery store at 7 a.m., and add a bottle of wine or some short cans to your next restaurant takeout or delivery order.
Effective immediately, licensed restaurants and bars in Ontario can sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders between the hours of 9:00 am and 11:00 pm. Liquor can be sold via direct restaurant delivery or through a third-party like UberEats or DoorDash. The AGCO is also offering free Smart Serve training to delivery drivers who do not hold the certification.
Liquor sold for takeout must be in a sealed, unopened container, limiting the ability of bars to sell draft beer. Somewhat bizarrely, there is no limit to the amount of alcohol that can be sold in an order, but perhaps restaurant pricing for beer and wine will keep people in check. See all restrictions and regulations here.
Hours of alcohol sales have bumped to 7:00 a.m. for grocery stores and liquor manufacturer retail stores in order to service early shopping programs for vulnerable people.
Many in the Ontario bar, restaurant and alcohol industries support the move to offer alcohol with takeout or delivery, but say that rent relief from landlords and more robust government support is what is actually needed to survive the crisis.
Some hope the temporary loosening of restrictions will be made permanent once the crisis ends. The AGCO however has made no indication of this, and states the changes will last until December 31, 2020.