Business & Lobbying

Alcohol distributors urge governors to keep liquor stores open

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Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) is urging governors to keep alcoholic beverage retail locations open through the coronavirus outbreak.

WSWA wrote a letter to all 50 governors Wednesday, calling on them to take advantage of state laws that allow for curbside pick-up or delivery of alcohol. For states without those laws, the group suggested implementing provisions. 

“If closures of these stores across localities or states occur inconsistently, there is an increased chance that people will travel interstate or among localities to find an open store with available supply, increasing risk of spread among communities,” WSWA CEO Michelle Korsmo wrote. 

She added, “Closing down regulated stores for consumers to access alcohol will likely encourage black market activity — specifically, illicit products and illegal, unlicensed, and untraceable sales and shipments from unknown locations to consumers.” 

The alcohol industry accounts for 2.5 million jobs, including manufacturers, wholesalers and retail employers, according to WSWA. 

Besides curbside pick-up and alcohol delivery, WSWA suggested states enable restaurants to offer alcohol along with take out and delivery food orders. 

At least 28 states have closed dine-in options for restaurants so far, with more expected as the coronavirus spreads. 

The Consumer Brands Association is also calling on the government to exempt manufacturing facilities and suppliers of consumer packaged goods from restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus and the National Retail Federation is asking for a direct, government-backed loan program to help it until normal business operations can resume.

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