The announcement by the Prime Minister closing hospitality businesses, other than for the provision of takeaway, has led to a variety of responses by State and Territory Governments aimed at allowing food businesses that remain open as much flexibility as possible regarding liquor sales. We have summarised the various measures below. Information is being released on a daily basis and we will keep this page up to date as new measures are introduced.
OLGR has announced concessions for restaurants, cafes and small bars. These apply across the board, therefore licensees do not need to make an application for approval and may continue to operate under these conditions until OLGR announces otherwise.
Licensed restaurants and cafes holding a current liquor licence that sells takeaway food, can supply takeaway liquor or delivery, subject to the following conditions:
- The takeaway liquor can only be supplied in conjunction with a takeaway food order;
- The takeaway liquor can only consist of bottled or canned beer, wine, cider and ready to drink beverages, such as premixed spirits (you cannot refill growlers, squealers or other BYO containers for patrons);
- A maximum limit of 2.25 litres of liquor applies and can only be sold in conjunction with a takeaway food order (that is up to 2.25 litres per food order).
It is worth noting that the food does not have to meet the definition of a meal.
Licensees with Commercial Other (Bar) licences can now sell takeaway alcohol, including for delivery, provided each transaction complies with the following:
- The alcohol only consists of packaged beer (bottled or canned), wine, distilled spirits, cider and ready-to-drink beverages, such as premixed spirits (you cannot refill growlers, squealers or other BYO containers for patrons);
- A maximum of 2.25 litres of liquor (total volume) is sold per transaction, including a 750ml limit on distilled spirits within the total volume of any transaction.
Annual licence fees for the next financial year will be waived, but there will be no refund of fees already paid.
If you require any information about the use of third party delivery services, please call our office on 07 3252 4066.
Victoria has made available a liquor licence category called a Temporary Limited Licence which will assist restaurant and café owners during the period of restricted trading. The particulars are as follows:
- If you hold a restaurant and cafe or on-premises liquor licence, and there are no conditions on your licence that already permit the supply of liquor for consumption off your licensed premises, you can apply for a temporary limited licence to supply a limited quantity of liquor for off-premises consumption.
- The limit is one bottle of wine, OR one six pack of beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits.
- Customers may purchase this liquor either when ordering a meal for delivery, or when picking up a meal to take away. Please note that liquor cannot be supplied if a meal is not also being purchased in the same transaction.
- These temporary liquor licences will only be in force until the earlier of 15 September 2020 or the date on which the Declared State of Emergency Victoria in response to COVID-19 on 16 March 2020 ceases to be in force.
- There is a lodgement fee of $114.60. However we are advised that this will likely be refunded.
- The aim is to process the applications within 72 hours.
South Australia has announced that licensees holding a small bar, cafe, restaurant or community club type liquor licence will be able to apply for a short-term licence at no charge.
Under the conditions of these temporary licences, restaurants, small venues, local clubs and on-premises licence holders that operate like a restaurant or small bar can sell up to two bottles of wine or one bottle of wine and a six pack of beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits with any meal purchased for takeaway or delivery.
If granted, the licence will apply until the public health emergency relating to COVID-19 concludes, unless more restrictive measures are imposed. If that occurs, licensees will be notified.
New South Wales
NSW has announced a change to the enforcement regime through a statement of regulatory intent, which is essentially similar system to QLD. NSW appears to be less definitive about what a licensee is permitted to do but has pledged to take a pragmatic approach. Restaurants, cafes and small bars have been approved to provide takeaway or delivery sales and the principal focus of enforcement will be on matters that pose significant risk to the safety of members of the public. All licensed premises making takeaway sales or undertaking home deliveries should have a system of controls in place to ensure that liquor is not sold to minors or to intoxicated persons.
Changes to the Liquor Regulation 2018 will be progressed to provide certainty to these arrangements, so this compliance approach will remain in place until such time as changes can be made to the Liquor Regulation 2018 to formalise these arrangements, or for as long as the Public Health Order 2020 remains in force, unless otherwise advised.
Australian Capital Territory
ACT has an option similar to Victoria allowing licensees to apply for a Commercial Liquor Permit. The regulator’s website does not contain any specific information on the permit but a Ministerial press release confirms there is no fee and the permit will be valid for three months.
On the one hand, the Western Australian Government introduced restrictions on the sale of takeaway alcohol from hotels, taverns, liquor stores, clubs, wholesalers, special facility licences and producers came into effect on 27 March 2020. These restrictions are for two weeks minimum and will be reviewed.
On the other hand, restaurants, small bars and taverns can apply for a six month occasional liquor licence to allow the sale of packaged liquor with a meal. Licensees can lodge an application for an occasional licence online. The applications will be fast tracked and the application fee has been waived.
Tasmania and the Northern Territory have not yet announced any concessions.