Toronto’s restaurants and bars are now legally permitted to sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery owners.
The unprecedented move by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which oversees alcohol licensing in the province, is likely to help boost income to the province’s hospitality sector, which has been floundering since dining rooms and bars were ordered to be closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Effective immediately, restaurants and bars in Ontario can now sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders between the hours of 9 am and 11 pm.
“All active liquor licensees may immediately begin offering this service if they choose and there is no application process or fee required,” the AGCO wrote in a release. “Liquor may be sold for takeout or delivery through a third party, such as a food delivery service or ordering platform.”
The license holder must still act responsibly when making sales, including making sure the person receiving the delivery is of age and is not intoxicated. Staff delivering alcohol must have completed Smart Serve, and all liquor must be in sealed, unopened containers.
The move comes on the heels of a petition to allow Ontario bars and restaurants to sell wine, beer, cider and spirits during their dining room closures.
“It is no secret that alcohol sales are a huge part of a restaurant’s income and we need to allow them to create profit where they can,” read the petition, which was started by Niagara vintner Marcel Morgenstern. “The only thing holding them back are laws dating back to prohibition that are archaic and outdated.”
Restaurants had been scrambling to offer new takeout and delivery options, which so far have not allowed them to make up for a massive loss of income. Meanwhile, some alcohol producers like breweries have extended their delivery options.
Another change by the ACGO: Grocery stores and liquor manufacturers can also start selling alcohol at 7 am “in order to support early shopping programs for vulnerable people, and to provide greater flexibility to retail stores.”