Written by | TABC News, TABC Updates

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order on March 22, 2020, which, among other Covid-19 related matters, temporarily suspends state and local laws and regulations that currently restrict restaurants from allowing take-out or delivery of alcoholic beverages or beer.  Restaurants can now sell for take-out or deliver wine, spirits, and beer drinks (not bottles of wine or spirits) with food until early April. 

Also on March 22, 2020, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County Mayor John Cooper issued the “Safer at Home Order,” which is a stay at home/quarantine mandate, with exceptions for essential activities and employees.

Thanks to our good friend, Ryan Haynes, Executive Director for the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Tennessee, for the excellent summaries which follow. 

Governor Issues Executive Order

Governor Bill Lee has just issued executive order No. 17.  With this order he has begun the process of providing flexibility for restaurants regarding the sale of alcohol.  His order temporarily suspends state and local laws, and regulations that currently restrict restaurants from allowing take-out or delivery of alcoholic beverages or beer.  The following conditions must be met in order to allow take-out or delivery of alcohol:

  • Must be accompanied by food
  • Must be packaged in a container or bottle with a secure lid or cap.  Lids and caps can not be removed while operating a motor vehicle
  • Single Servings of alcoholic beverages or beer may be sold but NOT bottles of spirts or liquor 
  • Warnings must be posted at the establishment that no driver shall consume alcohol while driving a motor vehicle
  • Any employee providing alcohol must inspect government ID and confirm that person purchasing is at least twenty-one (21) years of age
  • A person delivering alcoholic beverages must be twenty-one (21) years of age
  • Alcohol must be sold during current operating hours
  • This order goes into effect at 12:01 AM, Central Daylight Time, on March 23, 2020.  This order will no longer be in effect on April 6, 2020.

Nashville Mayor Issues Safer at Home Order

In addition, the Mayor of Nashville has ordered a “Safer at Home Order.”  Residents of Nashville are required to stay inside their homes unless they are engaged in certain “essential activities.”  Food and beverage stores are considered essential activities as well as warehousing and storage businesses.  This would include wine and spirits wholesale operations and package stores.  A link to Mayor Cooper’s order is below.

WSWT has been in contact with the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Governor Bill Lee’s administration and at this time they have stated they will not be shutting down package stores.  

Tennessee General Assembly Quickly Adjourns

The Tennessee General Assembly has quickly adjourned and passed a constitutionally mandated budget.  At this time the Tennessee General Assembly plans on returning in June.  All alcohol legislation was currently put to the side in order to focus on the state budget and essential services.  

Last modified: July 30, 2020