Ontario temporarily lowers price of alcohol sold by restaurants

The province of Ontario has lowered the minimum price of alcohol sold by licensed bars and restaurants to alleviate the burden of the struggling hospitality industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The AGCO continues to work closely with the Government of Ontario during the state of emergency to support Ontarians and the sectors we regulate.”

Jean Major, AGCO CEO

Earlier in March, after businesses across the province were ordered to close, the Ontario government announced that licensed restaurants and bars providing delivery and takeout would be permitted to sell alcohol with food orders until December 31, 2020.

Subsequently, on May 5, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced that Ontario will temporarily lower the price of spirits from $2.00 per 29 ml to $1.34. Further, a 375-millilitre bottle could now be sold for a minimum price of $17.32 instead of $25.86, while a 750-millilitre bottle can now be sold for a minimum price of $34.65 instead of $51.72. The new pricing of spirits will be effective until January 1, 2021.

“The reduced minimum prices for bottles of spirits sold by licensed establishments, and the rule change for cidery retail are additional ways to support the hospitality sector as it deals with the effects of COVID-19,”

Jean Major, AGCO CEO

“By making spirits more affordable the government is providing further support to restaurants, bars and other establishments that cannot serve patrons in-house during the current state of emergency,” stated a news release issued by the AGCO. According to the AGCO, these changes will help businesses sell their products on-site or deliver them to their customers.

Moreover, the Ontario government plans to expand access to products made by cideries amid the coronavirus pandemic. The AGCO has stated that Ontario is helping small cideries by temporarily eliminating the requirement of having five acres of planted fruit to have a store on their property.

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