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Arizona liquor board halts to-go alcohol sales without proper licenses

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control officially put an end to to-go liquor sales last week for establishments that do not have the proper licenses.

Updated guidance gives law officials the ability to enforce improper liquor sales if an establishment holds a series 12 liquor license and sells beer, wine and spirits for off-premise consumption.

“The primary focus of this agency continues to be licensee compliance with public health business requirements aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19,” a department spokesman told KTAR News 92.3 FM in an email last week.

“This virus remains a top concern for this department and its licensees, and we are working to protect lives and livelihoods in Arizona.”

In March, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey implemented an executive order overriding the licensing requirement to allow any establishment in a county with confirmed COVID-19 cases to sell to-go beer, wine and spirits.

The move was intended to give shuttered restaurants an extra line of revenue.

A Maricopa County Superior Court on Nov. 9 reversed Ducey’s executive order, ruling that the suspension of certain parts of the liquor license law exceeded his authority.

The Arizona Department of Liquor distributes a number of licenses which have different privileges.

A series 6 “bar license” and a series 7 “beer and wine bar license” allow establishments to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises as well as consumption off the licensed premises as long as the alcohol is in an unopened container.

Meanwhile, a series 12 “restaurant license” allows an establishment to only sell liquor and spirits on the premises.

The notice was also posted as a reminder to all establishments that they are only permitted to to-go sell beer, wine and spirits if they do have the proper licenses.

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