New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Issues Charges in COVID-19 Related Violations of State Alcohol Laws

Last updated May 7, 2020

Attorney General Grewal announced on May 1 that the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) issued charges against 20 bars, restaurants, breweries and liquor stores for violating executive orders related to COVID-19. All 20 establishments face suspension of their liquor licenses for at least 10 days. Two other establishments were issued fines for lesser COVID-19 related infractions.

Under executive orders issued by Governor Murphy, businesses licensed to sell alcohol in the state are permitted to remain open during the COVID-19 state-of-emergency, but only for take-out or delivery services of food and alcohol. No table or bar service is permitted, on premise alcohol consumption is prohibited, and alcoholic beverages “to go” must be in sealed original containers. This means that mixed or prepared drinks like Sangria or Margaritas are not permitted to be sold by bars or restaurants in “to go” cups at this time. All alcoholic beverages must be sold in closed original containers, for example, a bottle of wine, a bottle of vodka, or a six pack of beer.

Fortunately, Bill A3966, pending before the legislature, would temporarily allow the holder of a retail consumption license to sell cocktails for off premises consumption. If signed into law, this Bill would allow the holder of a retail consumption license to sell distilled alcoholic beverages in a closed and sealed container that were mixed or blended with other alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages. The bill requires that the distilled alcoholic beverages, whether or not mixed with other beverages, be delivered or sold in closed and sealed containers that hold not more than 16 fluid ounces.  The closed and sealed containers of mixed drinks must be affixed with a tamper evident seal. For a deeper dive into Bill A3966, please click here.

If you have any questions or require any assistance regarding the operation of your liquor license, or have questions about the Division’s Charges, please contact the authors.

For additional information pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak, please visit CSG’s COVID-19 Resource Center.

This publication contains general information on recent legal developments and is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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