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MLCC Makes it Easier for Liquor Licensees to Move Business Outdoors Launches New Reopening Resources Webpage

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-335-LARA (5272)

May 19, 2020 - To help boost the safe reopening of bars and restaurants across the state, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) today announced streamlined licensing for outdoor services and additional bar permits, and launched a new webpage with reopening guidelines and resources for liquor licensees.

“At the governor’s direction, we are pleased to join her in helping liquor licensees get back to business in a safe and profitable way. This is our top priority right now,” said MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi. “Licensees brought their needs to the table through a ‘reopening workgroup’ and the Commission took action. I want to thank MLCC Commissioners Ed Clemente and Brad Jacobsen, co-chairs of the workgroup and all those who participated to help make these changes happen.”   

The MLCC convened a “Reopening Workgroup” comprised of stakeholders, liquor licensees and other interest groups that met virtually to share ideas and consider written suggestions from restaurant and bar owners on what they needed to help them prepare for reopening their businesses. As a result, the MLCC is now streamlining the application process for:

  • outdoor service expansions or new requests for the 2020 summer season
  • adding a Specially Designated Merchant (SDM) license to an existing Class C license, allowing for unopened beer and wine to be taken off-premises for consumption, and
  • additional bar permits.

Liquor licensees can go to the new Reopening Resources webpage at: for these applications and much more information, including:

  • Reopening Frequently Asked Questions
  • reopening guidelines from trade associations, and 
  • survey results of Michigan residents’ perceptions and expectations after stay-at-home orders

These steps are the latest measures taken by the MLCC to assist liquor licensees whose businesses have been impacted by Executive Orders issued during this COVID-19 health crisis. Over the last several weeks, the MLCC has by Administrative Order: 

  • implemented Gov. Whitmer’s spirits buyback program, buying back almost $3.4 million in spirits from 673 on-premises liquor licensees
  • extended the application deadline for the buyback program to allow more licensees to participate 
  • extended the annual license renewal date from April 30 to May 31, 2020 for 22,000 licensees
  • extended due dates for licensees to file monthly and quarterly tax reports to July 15, 2020; and
  • modified the requirement for licensees to place their license in escrow if inactive for more than 30 days.

Upon reopening, licensees have a responsibility to take all necessary steps to minimize the risk and combat the spread of the coronavirus in their hospitality establishments and communities all across Michigan. 

For more information on the coronavirus/COVID-19 state of emergency please visit the State of Michigan’s coronavirus website at

The mission of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) is to make alcoholic beverages available for consumption while protecting the consumer and the general public through regulation of those involved in the sale and distribution of these alcohol beverage products.

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