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California, New York, Illinois, And Other States Shutter On-Premise

March 16, 2020

Governors in a number of the nation’s most populous states are undertaking bold moves to combat the spread of coronavirus, but unfortunately the drinks industry is taking a hit as a result.

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom asked all bars, wineries, brewpubs, and nightclubs to close. Restaurants may continue to operate, but must reduce their occupancy by half and enforce social distancing. The Wine Institute noted that while California wineries must discontinue consumer tastings and events, consumers may still purchase and pick up wine on-site, and production may continue. Following Newsom’s announcement, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti closed bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and entertainment venues through at least the end of March.

The situation is similar in New York, Illinois, Ohio, Washington, and Massachusetts. In New York, all nightclubs, theaters, and concert halls have closed, and restaurants and bars may offer takeout and delivery only, with Illinois introducing similar restrictions. Meanwhile, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has closed all bars and restaurants for at least a month, likewise excluding takeout and delivery. In Las Vegas, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts both announced they would close their casinos and hotels for at least two weeks, starting March 17.

In Ohio, where the on-premise has also closed, Governor Mike DeWine said, “Our goal is for everyone to get through this. Our hope is that next St. Patrick’s Day, everyone will be there and that they’ll have the opportunity to live their life and their American dream. But if people are not around, they can’t do that.” The state is also offering “a one-time liquor buyback option to support bars and restaurants. This will especially aid those establishments that have stocked up on high-proof liquor ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday for which they now have no use, due to their closure to in-house patrons.”—Daniel Marsteller

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