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Alcohol Update from Pesetsky & Bookman

By Pesetsky & Bookman

SLA live streamed its first meeting under the new emergency COVID-19 rules in which members of the public could not attend or participate

Robert and Max Bookman of Pesetsky & Bookman, the Alliance's general and legislative counsel and experts in alcohol licensing, have the following update for Alliance members:
 
The State Liquor Authority just live streamed its first meeting under the new emergency COVID-19 rules in which members of the public could not attend or participate.  At the meeting, the SLA adopted the following new reforms to assist our industry.  We thank SLA and the Governor for continuing to work with us in these most difficult of times.
 
License Renewals
In recognition that most businesses do not have much (or any) cash on hand, licensees may file their March and April alcohol license renewal applications without including the renewal fee. Licensees have 60 days from filing, or until June 1, to pay  the renewal fee.  Although payment of the fee is postponed, nothing else about the renewal application is.  Therefore, businesses with upcoming license renewals must still file a timely renewal application, including the required Community Board advanced notice.  
 
Enforcement matters and fines
Payment demand letters for all monetary penalties approved by the SLA will be suspended for 60 days.  As 60 days approaches, SLA will revisit the issue and potentially extend the timeline for more.   For fines that have already been issued but not paid, licenses will not get suspended or cancelled if you do not pay during the next 60 days.
 
Community Board Notices
The Alliance requested that SLA allow all notices that are normally required to be sent to the Community Boards by certified mail instead be sent via email during this crisis.
 
The SLA ruled that email will be acceptable only if the Community Board requests email notices.  The CB will also have to acknowledge by email receipt of each emailed notice. 
 
We, therefore, call on all Community Boards to immediately make it their policy that they are requesting email notifications. It runs counter to the advice of the Governor, Mayor and health professionals to require individuals to leave their homes to make a trip to the Post Office to send a certified mail.  Moreover, most CB offices are now closed so they will not even be there to accept the certified mailing.
 
Emergency Reduction of Wholesale Prices allowed
SLA is allowing wholesalers to immediate re-post prices for the balance of  March downward from their start of the month price posting. In addition, they can lower the volume needed to qualify for a volume discount.

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