March 25, 2020
Albany, NY

State Liquor Authority Takes Immediate Actions to Provide Relief for Retailers in Response to the Novel Coronavirus

State Liquor Authority Takes Immediate Actions to Provide Relief for Retailers in Response to the Novel Coronavirus
Payments for Renewal Fees and Penalties Extended
Wholesalers Allowed to Immediately Lower Prices Charged to Retailers
Relaxed Requirements for Municipal Notifications, Required Documentation

The State Liquor Authority (SLA) today announced policy changes effective immediately to provide relief to licensed businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus.  The new temporary policy changes, enacted at a meeting of the Full Board on March 24th, include a 60 day extension on payment of fees for renewals and civil monetary penalties, allowing wholesalers to immediately lower prices, permitting email correspondence for municipal and community board notifications, and providing extensions for deficiencies and finger-print requirements.      
“At Governor Cuomo’s direction, the SLA will continue to take immediate actions to support our licensees who are suffering disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus," said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “These temporary policy changes will provide some cash flow relief to our bars, restaurants and manufacturers whose operations have been upended by the global pandemic. During this crisis, our agency will remain flexible and continue working with our licensees to help in mitigating the economic impacts.”   
At a meeting of the SLA Full Board today, on March 24, 2020, the Board agreed to: 

  • Temporarily waive renewal fees: licensed retailers with renewals due on April 1st or May 1st do not need to submit payments with their renewal applications at this time. While licensees must submit paperwork associated with their renewals, the payment date is extended until June 1st, subject to further extension when the SLA Board revisits this policy;
  • Extend time to pay civil penalties: While SLA will continue to impose fines for violations of the ABC Law, for the next 60 days, it will not send notices for collection of those fines.  This SLA will revisit this policy change within 60 days to determine whether additional extensions are necessary.  The SLA will continue to impose cancellations and revocations where warranted;
  • Lower wholesale prices for retailers:  Wholesalers are now permitted to adjust their monthly price schedules, provided the prices are lower than those currently published.  Additionally, wholesalers may also lower the volume of products required to be ordered by retailers in order to receive a quantity discount;  
  • Allow email notifications for municipal/community board notifications: On-premises license applicants are required to notify their municipality or community board by certified mail prior to applying for a license; licensees in New York City are also required to provide such notification for renewals. Today the Board temporarily waived the certified mail requirement, provided the municipality has asked for email notification, the applicants notify their municipality via email, and the applicant provides the SLA an email from the municipality acknowledging receipt;
  • Extend timeframes for deficiencies and fingerprints: The SLA will consider approving extensions for responding to application deficiency letters should one be requested, in addition to granting automatic extensions on the submission of fingerprints.        

As the SLA continues to make changes and update policies, licensees are encouraged to regularly check the SLA’s website for guidance and answers to frequently asked questions.   
Some recent prior changes implemented by the SLA under the direction of Governor Cuomo to help businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus include:  

  • Allowing on-premises bars and restaurant, in addition to certain manufacturers, the ability to sell wine and spirits by the bottle, in addition to beer, for takeout and delivery with a food sale; 
  • Allowing on-premises bars and restaurants, in addition to certain manufacturers, the ability to provide mixed drinks for takeout or delivery with a food sale provided they are in closed containers consistent with any open container ordinance;
  • Allowing wholesalers to take return of certain products from retailers;
  • Waiving the requirement that establishments that have temporarily closed place their licenses in safekeeping;
  • Allowing classroom-based Alcohol Training and Awareness Program providers to provide online classes;

The New York State Liquor Authority regulates and controls the manufacture, sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages within the State. The Authority works with local law enforcement agencies and localities across the State to ensure compliance with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. In addition, the Authority issues and renews licenses and permits to manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers of alcoholic beverages.

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