Nebraska governor loosens liquor laws to help restaurants, bars during coronavirus concerns

Published: Mar. 19, 2020 at 7:33 PM CDT
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The state of Nebraska is doing what it can to provide relief to restaurants and bars working to serve customers while adhering to social distancing mandates, particularly those that have been forced to close their dining areas.

Hours after the state ordered restrictions imposed on Douglas County on Wednesday

, Gov. Pete Ricketts on Thursday night signed an executive order giving restaurants and bars statewide more flexibility to serve alcohol to their patrons during the coronavirus health crisis.

The allowances include:

  • Liquor Licensing -- Establishments such as pizza parlors (Class A license holders) will be able to sell beer to customers on take-out or delivery orders. Restaurants (Class I license holders) will be able to sell beer, wine, and spirits to customers placing take-out or delivery orders.
  • Sale of Alcohol --To encourage social distancing, restaurants and bars will be permitted to sell alcohol on drive-thru or curbside orders without customers having to exit their motor vehicles.
  • Temporary Operating Permits -- Temporary operating permits will be extended from 90 to 180 days.
  • Waiver of Excise Tax Penalties -- Excise tax payees still have the duty to file and pay the excise tax according to statute. However, the executive order will waive penalties for late payments.
  • Payment of beer, wine, and spirit deliveries -- Under normal circumstances, beer must be paid for upon delivery and wine and spirit deliveries must be paid within 30 days. The executive order will give restaurants and bars 90 days to pay for beer, wine, and spirit deliveries for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.