Gov. Ricketts signs order bringing relief to restaurants and bars during coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 7:30 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 23:27:26-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) - Gov. Pete Ricketts issued an executive order on Thursday that will give restaurants and bars statewide greater flexibility to serve Nebraskans during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ricketts' executive order includes the following provisions:

  • 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.

In keeping with federal guidelines, Nebraska has issued guidance that restaurants and bars are currently limited to 10 patrons as part of a nationwide social distancing effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Nebraska has also directed restaurants and bars in Cass, Douglas, Sarpy, and Washington counties to close their dining / seating areas and move to takeout, carry-out, or delivery only.

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