Kansas bars, restaurants allowed to sell alcohol curbside amid coronavirus concerns

Published: Mar. 19, 2020 at 3:05 PM CDT
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Kansans can now get their beer and alcohol to-go, according to a new policy through the state Alcoholic Beverage Control.

ABC Director Debbi Beavers said she made the decision after hearing from business owners who said their sales were negatively impacted by COVID-19 and increasing social distancing requirements.

The new policy means liquor stores can make curbside deliveries within a 50-foot radius from their entrance. They can also designate specific “to-go” parking stalls or similar locations within that same distance.

Drinking establishments, class A clubs and class B clubs can also sell bottles of beer or wine curbside after the alcohol has been opened and properly sealed on the property, "but does not need to be partially consumed on the licensed premises."

The policy only applies retail liquor stores, drinking establishments, class A clubs, class B clubs, farm wineries, microbreweries, microdistilleries and producers.

Yesenia Espada, general manager of Newton's Acapulco Mexican Restaurant says she was shocked when she read the email that Alcoholic Beverage Control will allow the curbside sale of alcohol to customers.

"I had to read it like four times and then I was like, 'that's cool,'" she says.

Small-business owners in the Wichita area that have been struggling with social distancing and less in-house customers say this option to sell alcohol curbside or with to-go orders opens up a new source of income during the ban on large gatherings.

Since closing its taproom, Wichita's Central Standard Brewing has moved to online ordering and curbside delivery instead of closing up shop entirely.

"It's all that we can do to keep some cash flow coming in," Central Standard Brewing Co-owner Andy Boyd says. "There's packaging costs whereas before, we were selling it by the glass. So, less margin for us."

While these are new services for restaurants, Crestview Wind and Spirits in Wichita has been offering curbside delivery for years and has seen more people recently taking advantage of it.

The policy in place now aims to relieve pressure on restaurants that rely on alcohol sales as a large part of their profit.