Will Cheek's Last Call Blog
Tennessee Governor orders bars, restaurants closed except for delivery, takeout
Mar 20, 2020
UPDATED: April 15, 2020
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has ordered all bars and restaurants closed in Tennessee except for takeout and delivery. The order will remain in effect through April 30.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created both an economic and a health crisis and our response must continue to address both aspects,” Lee said in a statement. “Our goal is to keep the public, especially vulnerable populations, safe while doing everything possible to keep Tennesseans in a financially stable position.”
The Metropolitan Beer Permit Board of Nashville has enacted an emergency regulation allowing restaurants, hotels and most breweries can now apply for a new beer permit to deliver and sell beer curbside and “to go.”
As of posting, we have filed delivery applications for 59 restaurants, hotels and breweries, and many have already been issued permits.
Meanwhile, earlier today, Metro Nashville Chief Medical Director Dr. Michael Caldwell closed dine-in service at restaurants. Take-out orders, drive-thru service, curbside pickup, and delivery service are permitted.
In addition, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke entered an executive order closing “establishments whose primary business is alcohol service or food service. … Nothing in this order shall be intended to prevent pick-up, delivery or drive-thru service.” Mayor Berke’s proclamation went into effect at midnight on March 19.
Finally, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland declared a civil emergency and ordered all restaurants to close their dining rooms and offer takeout or delivery service only. Bars are closed. In a spot of good news for carryout, city officials are bagging downtown meters to allow temporary parking for curbside delivery and takeout.
The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission held a special meeting at 2 p.m. today. Although there was discussion about wine and spirits delivery by restaurants, hotels and bars, Director Russell Thomas believes that delivery will require an action by the governor.
To date, Nashville is the only city that we have seen take steps to authorize delivery and to-go beer sales by restaurants.
How to deliver beer in Nashville
There is no application fee. The staff will issue a 30-day temporary “on/off” permit that allows the restaurant, hotel or brewery to immediately begin to-go, curbside and delivery of beer. Attached is a copy of the draft Regulation, which we understand was just adopted. READ: Beer Board Delivery Regulation
The emergency regulation requires that deliveries be made by employees. No delivery of beer by UberEats or other third-party delivery services.
The Reg requires mandatory carding by the employee making the delivery, curbside or to-go sale.
The Reg also authorizes sale of beer at drive-thru and delivery windows.
We find ourselves humming the Talking Heads completely cryptic single:
Once in a Lifetime
Same as it ever was
Letting the days go by
Same as it ever was
Stay tuned for more updates.