News/Pubs/Events

Indiana ATC Releases Updated FAQs for Stage 3 of Indiana’s Reopen Plan

The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (“ATC”) released updated FAQs for Stage 3 of Indiana’s Reopen Plan on May 22, 2020. Please contact a member of the Bose McKinney & Evans Hospitality and Alcoholic Beverage Law Group if you have any questions.

What is a “bar area”?
The bar area for the purposes of Executive order 20-28 is the counter over which drinks are served. During Stage 3, this area should be for employees only. Chairs should be removed or marked as unavailable. Ordering, serving, and consuming food and drinks for on-premises consumption is prohibited in this area. To the extent that this area is being used for ordering and serving of carryout food orders, a business may continue to do this while following the CDC guidelines.

What is a bar or tavern that must remain closed under Paragraph 10b during Stage 3?
A bar or tavern is a premises that prohibits the entry of anyone under the age of twenty-one and is not in the business of providing in-person full dining service. A business that merely meets the minimum food requirements outlined in 905 IAC 1-20-1 of having hot soups, hot sandwiches, coffee, soft drinks, and milk available does not qualify to open for on-premises sales during Stage 3.

Can a retail restaurant permittee that is limited to customers 21 and over allow on-premises dining during Stage 3 at 50% capacity and following other social distancing and sanitation measures?
Yes. The bar area must remain closed and the business must provide in-person full dinging service. A business that merely meets the minimum food requirements outlined in 905 IAC 1-20-1 of having hot soups, hot sandwiches, coffee, soft drinks and milk available does not qualify to open for on-premises sales during Stage 3.

What is “in-person full dining service?”
In-person full dining service is a menu with specific, dedicated courses and a wide selection of foods and beverages. Merely meeting the minimum food requirements outlined in 905 IAC 1-20-1 of having hot soups, hot sandwiches, coffee, soft drinks and milk available is not enough for in-person full dining service.

Can farm winery, artisan distillery, and small brewery tasting rooms open in Stage 3 for retail, carryout sales?
Yes, while following proper guidelines.

Can farm wineries, artisan distilleries, or small breweries use their tasting room bars for on-premises tastings when restaurants are allowed to open at 50% capacity?
A tasting room bar that is a counter over which drinks are served must remain closed in Stage 3. Tables away from the counter over which drinks are served, may be used from on-premises consumption if the location provides in-person full dining services. The premises should also limit capacity to 50% of seating capacity, screen staff for COVID-19 symptoms, require all employees and staff to wear face coverings, space tables at least six feet apart, and seat customers in groups of six people or less.

Is live music prohibited in outside dining areas during Stage 3?
Yes.

Is curbside service still permitted during Stage 3?
Yes.

Is a disc jockey or karaoke considered live music and prohibited in Stage 3?
Yes.

Can patrons play pool or billiards at a premises during Stage 3?
Yes. As long as the premises is providing in-person full dining service, limiting capacity to 50% of seating capacity, screening staff for COVID-19 symptoms, requiring all employees and staff to wear face coverings, spacing tables at least six feet apart, and seating customers in groups of six people or less.

Is pub trivia permitted during Stage 3?
Yes. As long as the premises is providing in-person full dining service, limiting capacity to 50% of seating capacity, screening staff for COVID-19 symptoms, requiring all employees and staff to wear face coverings, spacing tables at least six feet apart, and seating customers in groups of six people or less.

Can a permittee sell for carryout and allow people to consume at a location on the property that is not part of the licensed premises?
See the May 15, 2020, FAQs below on expanded floorplans.

Is type II gaming permitted during Stage 3?
No. Gaming operations are permitted to resume during Stage 4.

Are fraternal and social clubs limited to the social gathering number restrictions or the 50% restaurant seating capacity?
A fraternal club with in-person full service dining can may be open at 50% seating capacity throughout the venue. A fraternal club that does not have in-person full service dining must follow the social gathering restrictions. During Stage 3, the social gathering restrictions are no more than 100 people.

Can fraternal and social clubs have special events such as fish fries?
If the event occurs at a location with in-person full service dining, the location should continue to follow the 50% seating capacity. If the location does not have in-person full service dining, the location should follow the social gathering restrictions. During Stage 3, the social gathering restrictions are no more than 100 people.

What if I can’t get a County Surveyor Form because the Surveyor’s office is closed?
The ATC is aware that applicants are experiencing delays getting new applications filed for Marion County because of the closure of the Marion County Surveyor’s Office. The ATC will temporarily accept applications for Marion County without the surveyor’s form. The meeting will be scheduled for the local board indicated on the application. When the Marion County Surveyor’s Office reopens, the applicant must submit the county verification form. If the information provided on the application does not match the surveyor’s form, the ATC will not be able to adjust the local board assigned and the applicant will need to withdraw the application and start the application process over. The ATC suggests that the applicant use other means to verify the location’s jurisdiction, including GIS Mapping and prior county surveyor forms for the location, before submitting an application. This exception to submitting a county verification form for Marion County will only be in place until the Marion County Surveyor’s Office reopens. If there are other counties that are closed and not providing county surveyor forms, please let the ATC know and we will evaluate how to proceed.

How can I verify the age of an alcoholic beverage or tobacco or e-liquid purchaser?
It is the responsibility of permittees to ensure alcohol and tobacco are not served or sold to minors. If permittees are unable or unwilling to verify age or identification because the customer cannot or will not remove their mask, then they run the risk that alcohol or tobacco will be served or sold to a minor. Additionally, dealer permittees such as grocery stores and package liquor stores are statutorily-required to check the identification of individuals purchasing alcohol who appear less than 40 years of age. There is no legal requirement to sell or serve alcohol or tobacco to a person if the licensee is not satisfied that the customer is 21 or older. The ATC has suggested that checking ID and having the customer remove their mask could be done at a safe distance, but that is ultimately up to them. Simply put, not removing the mask will not insulate the licensee from liability for serving alcohol to a minor.

Does a restaurant or bar that qualifies for “in-person full dining service” need to require customers to purchase food?
No. The purchase of food is not required.

If you have any questions please contact the Bose McKinney & Evans Hospitality and Alcoholic Beverage Law team.