New measures taken by Ontario to support bars and restaurants
May 7, 2020, Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario government is taking additional measures to help hospitality sector workers and businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The province is allowing licensed restaurants and bars to sell spirits with a food order at a lower price and is making it easier for cideries to sell directly to consumers.
Effective immediately, the price for whiskey, gin, rum and other spirits will be temporarily reduced from the current licensee minimum price of $2 per 29 millilitre (ml) to $1.34 per 29 ml.
By making spirits more affordable the government is providing further support to restaurants, bars and other establishments that can not serve patrons in-house during the current state of emergency.
This measure will be revoked on Jan. 1, 2021, matching the duration of the temporary ability for bars and restaurants to sell alcohol with food for takeout and delivery which is in place until Dec. 31, 2020.
The government is also taking steps to support those who produce cider. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has temporarily removed the requirement for cideries to have five acres of planted fruit in order to qualify for a store at their cidery. This change will allow all licensed manufacturers of cider to sell their products on-site or deliver directly to consumers across Ontario.
“The AGCO continues to work closely with the Government of Ontario during the state of emergency to support Ontarians and the sectors we regulate,” said Jean Major, registrar and CEO, AGCO. “The reduced minimum prices for bottles of spirits sold by licensed establishments, and the rule change for cidery retail are additional ways to support the hospitality sector as it deals with the effects of COVID-19.”
The AGCO is responsible for regulating the alcohol, gaming, horse racing and private cannabis retail sectors in Ontario in accordance with the principles of honesty and integrity, and in the public interest.
The AGCO is a regulatory agency with a governing board that reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General.