In some cities and states, early curfews are being mandated due to COVID-19 – this doesn’t seem to be the case for Michigan. A big change could be coming for Michigan bars. Soon, bars and restaurants across Michigan may be able to serve alcoholic beverages until 4 a.m., which adds two additional hours to laws in place now, under House Bill 4213, passed by the Michigan House. Currently, rules set in stone prohibit on-premises and off-premises licensees from selling alcoholic liquor between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m.
On Thursday, September 24, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the bill, which would allow the Liquor Control Commission to issue a late-night permit for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. to a licensee that holds a license or permit to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises and that is located in a city, village, or township that approved such sales by resolution.
All liquor licensees have to do is pay an initial and annual renewal fee for a late-night permit, totaling $250 each year. The late-night permit would expire on the same date as the on-premises license or permit and could be renewed in conjunction with that license or permit.
Aside from the new rules for liquor sales approved by the legislature in July, which gave bars and restaurants the green light for selling to-go cocktails in sealed containers, the hope for this bill gives businesses another resource and approach to stay afloat during the pandemic.
Could this be an opportunity to (safely) make up for the fun we have missed out on in 2020? That is if bars and restaurants aren’t forced to close down due to cooler temperatures on the horizon and no solution to COVID-19 on the docket.
But don’t start making late-night plans just yet. House Bill 4213, which is sponsored by Representative Ryan Berman, still needs to be passed by the Michigan Senate, which will then give Governor Whitmer, the opportunity to sign the bill into law.