News and Notes
Mississippi law allows cities to establish a Leisure and Recreation District (LRD). LRDs are established by city ordinance. Restaurants and bars located within the boundaries of an LRD may serve mixed drinks to their patrons and allow patrons to leave the licensed premises with an open container of alcohol (to-go cup). However, patrons must stay within the boundaries of the LRD. Enforcement of the LRD is performed by local law enforcement personnel. A list of all municipalities that have established an LRD can be found here. LRDs
Due to the emergency situation all Mississippians are facing, ABC is now allowing drinks in the "to go" orders made by patrons for curbside pick-up if the restaurant is located in an LRD. It is still illegal for premises outside of LRD's to allow patrons to leave with mixed drinks. This is because there is a statutory prohibition on patrons leaving a restaurant or bar with alcohol unless they are located in an LRD. Therefore, it is not legal for permittees outside of an LRD's boundaries to include mixed drinks in their "to go" orders.
Permittees in an LRD can serve “to-go” cups for curbside service until Restaurants and Bars are allowed to open for normal business; permittees outside of an LRD cannot serve “to-go” cups for curbside service .Please contact your city if you are unsure if you are located within an LRD or if you have any other questions about an LRD.
Currently, ABC regulations allow restaurant customers to remove one bottle of wine from a permitted business when the bottle was partially consumed during the course of a meal, the permittee securely reseals the bottle for the customer, places the bottle in a sealed bag and the restaurant provides the customer with a receipt showing that a meal was also purchased. This is commonly referred to as a “doggie bag”.
The ABC has already allowed package store permittees to offer curb side delivery until April 30, 2020. As restaurants are either limiting sit down meals or can no longer offer sit down meals as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ABC will also allow permitted restaurants to offer the “doggie bag” option for to-go orders until Restaurants and Bars are allowed to open for normal business. This provision covers the sale of a single, sealed bottle of wine that is sold WITH a to-go order. The same rules apply in reference to the sealed bag and the receipt showing the purchase of a meal and in locations where “doggie bags” are allowed. To-go sales of mixed drinks are strictly prohibited.
In response to the Governor Reeves’ declaration of a state of emergency due to COVID-19, the Department of Revenue has enacted a temporary amendment to Title 35, Part II, Subpart 2, Chapter 3 of the Mississippi Administrative Code. This amendment will allow customers to submit orders and pay liquor retailers by telephone or internet, and allow liquor retailers to provide on-premises curbside delivery. The ABC considers this rule to have become effective March 16, 2020. It may be viewed on the Department of Revenue’s website at www.dor.ms.gov, or at the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.ms.gov. The Department of Revenue will consider making a permanent change to the rule to allow for orders and curbside delivery when warranted during a state of emergency. The ABC is authorizing this practice until Restaurants and Bars are allowed to open for normal business. We will review the need to extend such authorization and issue a notification if it is extended.