New ABC Rules Provide Opportunities To Serve Customers On Sidewalks, Parking Lots & Public Thoroughfares
Will there be drinking in the streets in California?
As California begins to loosen COVID-19 restrictions and restaurants are cautiously being allowed to re-open, the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is allowing restaurants and bars to serve alcohol outside of their normal boundaries. And those include adjacent sidewalks and even parking lots.
It could also include streets in areas blocked off to traffic.
The ABC’s regulatory relief notice states that it will now allow (or suspend enforcement in its terms), the following:
Adjacent areas under the control of the licensee include, but are not limited to:
- Indoor areas that are accessible from within the licensed premises but not currently licensed;
- Outdoor areas that are accessible from the licensed premises but not currently licensed;
- Indoor and outdoor areas under the control of the licensee and one or more other businesses;
- Parking lots;
- Sidewalks and other public thoroughfares that are closed to public access during the period of service;
- Other areas within close proximity to the licensed premises that are immediately accessible to the licensee, and that are secured by and under the control of the licensee, at the discretion of the Department.
Businesses must apply for a permit, which cost $100.
This measure could allow restaurants and bars to get close to 100% capacity by expanding the areas in which they are able to serve customers.
If the establishment has, say, a capacity of 100 people, current rules stipulate it can only be at a maximum of 50 customers. However, if it increases its service size by being able to place tables outside in areas adjacent to the business, then it can get closer to its original capacity.
This won’t work for every establishment, of course, but it does allow for restaurants and bars to serve more customers and that means more money to help them stay in business.
From a customer standpoint, being able to enjoy a meal and/or a few drinks in places that were previously off limits – one place that comes immediately to mind is the parking lots in front of Shellback Tavern and Strand House in Manhattan Beach will full views of the Pacific Ocean – it would be a very desirable situation.
And that would bring instant business to places that have not been able to host customers for two months.