Despite the flurry of headlines immediately after the Executive Order from Mayor Walt Maddox was released, the City of Tuscaloosa has not “shut down all bars.” The order does, however, close down some bars and it restricts all others. These restrictions are effective from August 24, 2020 at 5:00 PM to September 8, 2020 at 6:00 AM.
What is shut down?
The order suspends on-premise service at all ABC Lounge Retail licenses. There are approximately 30 of these licenses in the city, but that list includes popular spots like 4th and 23rd, The Alcove, Copper Top, Egans, Gallettes, the Gray Lady, the Houndstooth, and others. A lounge license (Class I) is typically held by establishments with a full bar (including liquor) and no or limited food sales.
The order only applies to “by the drink” sales at these businesses – they are still allowed to serve alcohol to-go, as otherwise permitted by law.
What about restaurants, breweries, and beer/wine bars?
Although restaurants and breweries were not shut down, the Executive Order requires that they only serve alcohol to “seated customers” and prohibits any “walk up bar service.” The same goes for other businesses without a lounge license.
What about grocery stores, package stores and other to-go sales, including curbside sales?
The order does not prohibit any to-go sales, nor does it address curbside sales as recently enacted by the ABC Board.