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March 25, 2020
Special Report

Temporary liquor licence exemption announced for takeaway alcohol sales

The South Australian government has announced further support for the hospitality sector, allowing cafes, restaurants, small bars and clubs to apply for a temporary liquor licence exemption allowing them to sell takeaway alcohol with meals from tomorrow.

  • Words: Angela Skujins
  • Main Image: Hindley Street's Stem bar and restaurant photographed by Meaghan Coles

SPECIAL REPORT: COVID-19 ADELAIDE

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman says that from tomorrow, liquor licence holders operating within South Australia can apply for a free short-term and temporary licence to sell booze with takeaway meals.

For cafés, bars and restaurants, sales to individuals are limited to two bottles of wine, or a bottle of wine and a six-pack of either beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits, and must be accompanied with the purchase of a takeaway meal.

Community clubs will be also able to sell takeaway liquor to club members as well as the public, however, they are not subject to the same conditions and can sell alcohol without an accompanying purchase of a meal to their members.

Vickie Chapman says extensions like these should help hospitality businesses operate during the challenging times caused by measures taken at both State and Federal levels to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has taken a huge hit on all national industries.

“Our hospitality sector is an important part of our economy and we appreciate there are many in the sector who are struggling as a result of circumstances that are clearly beyond their control,” the Attorney-General says in a statement.

“Where possible, we want to help businesses survive in the face of continually changing economic conditions.”

The new temporary amendment to liquor licences has targeted at cafés, restaurants and small bars, each impacted severely by the COVID-19 pandemic, but for a large swathe of small bar owners, whose businesses often do not have commercial kitchens, the food sale restrictions nullify the potential gains.

Sali Sasi, co-owner of Leigh Street Wine Room, which announced its temporary closure this week, says the legislation would not have helped her CBD bar, as “we won’t do a food model for takeaway.”

“Maybe I can throw in takeaway nuts?” she texts CityMag, punctuated with a shrug emoji.

A spokesperson for the Attorney-General told CityMag the “change was made as a direct result of feedback received by licensees, a number of whom requested a variation in their licence conditions to accommodate the sale of takeaway liquor.”

The government announcement does say that as the situation surrounding COVID-19 develops they may consider other legislation to help food and beverage operators.

“We will continue to monitor the impact of these measures and work closely with key industry bodies to develop responses that both keep people safe and support our businesses in trying times.”

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