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City of Rochester
201 4th Street SE
Rochester, MN  55904

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City of Rochester assisting restaurants with new provisions allowing limited off-sale of wine and beer with food takeout

Post Date:04/17/2020 5:41 PM

The City of Rochester is working closely with restaurants holding on-sale liquor licenses that want to take advantage of new legislative action allowing these businesses closed by executive order to sell limited amounts of wine or beer with prepared food takeout orders. Starting Saturday, April 18, qualifying restaurants can sell one bottle of wine and 72 oz. of beer, cider or seltzer — a six-pack — incidental to an order of prepared takeaway food.

Governor Walz signed the legislation yesterday afternoon after it was passed nearly unanimously by the legislature. These provisions only apply during the time restaurants are closed by the Governor’s executive orders. This action is in response to requests from restaurants that have been impacted by the closure of their dining rooms, and the loss of what can be substantial revenues from the sale of alcoholic beverages as part of their regular meal service.

Although the legislation allows cities to prohibit this expansion of off-sale provisions, Rochester supports restaurants that wish to provide this additional offering to their customers. City Clerk Anissa Hollingshead notes, “The City of Rochester is committed to working with any qualifying business wanting to take advantage of this new temporary provision to ensure their on-sale liquor licenses are up to date. Our office is fully staffed and stands ready to assist in processing any additional renewals as quickly as possible.” Qualifying restaurants include those holding an on-sale intoxicating liquor license or an on-sale wine license. Businesses holding one of these current licenses simply need to notify their insurer that they will be making off-sales under these provisions.

Liquor licenses in Rochester start each year on April 1. For businesses that have not yet renewed their annual liquor license, the City has waived late fees and offered the opportunity to defer annual licensing fees until November of 2020 to make it easier to resume operations under the current constraints.

Under these provisions, alcohol must be sold in its original, unopened packaging in conjunction with the sale of prepared food for take-out. Sale of hard liquor or cocktails is not permitted No delivery is allowed, and procedures are stipulated for restaurants to verify the person picking up the take-out order is at least 21 years of age. Nothing in the new legislation affects the ability of licensed brewers to make off-sales of alcoholic beverages already permitted under law.

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