Liquor stores are still open and seeing a spike in business

Restaurants with the proper licenses may still able to sell alcohol via pickup or delivery
Posted at 5:36 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 17:39:53-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Liquor stores across West Michigan are seeing an uptick in sales as concerns over COVID-19 continue to escalate.

On Monday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered all bars and restaurants closed to the public. Customers are still able to place orders via pickup and delivery services.

In terms of purchasing alcohol right now, liquor stores remain open to all customers.

Inderjit Singh, who owns Bottlenecks on Fuller Avenue, says he has seen heavy traffic the past two weeks.

“Last week Wednesday, Thursday, there was much in and out. They tried to get everything, everybody thinking that everything will be shut down," Singh said.

He and his staff have been putting in extra work to make sure that not only do they have all the alcohol people are looking to buy, but also the essentials like milk and toilet paper.

“Somebody needs water, we run around, we get water for community. Food, anything people need, we are here for them," Singh said. “We are part of the community. We are here for people, people are for us.”

Singh carries around a small bottle of hand sanitizer in his pocket these days, constantly disinfecting his hands and everything else in the store.

He told FOX 17 that he feels a responsibility to care of the people in his community, prompting him to post an offer on his social media. He and a few other volunteers will make deliveries for anyone who can't leave their home, all at no cost to the customer.

“if somebody, anybody, elderly people, they show hardship, we serve them free. We deliver to their house. If they need any groceries, we go to shop in the stores and we deliver them at no cost," Singh said.

In terms of purchasing alcohol from your favorite restaurant, there are still options.

Chris Baker, chair of the Hospitality and Alcoholic Beverage Control Practice Group, says the services that a restaurant can offer right now depend on what specialty licenses they have.

"Any bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, theaters, any place that would have a liquor license, are going to be subject to the present regulations, including the present ban which is executive order 2029," Baker told FOX 17 Friday.

Depending on which licenses an establishment holds, they may be able to offer the following services:

  • Inside pickup
  • Curbside delivery
  • Home delivery

Most restaurants in the state are maintaining a small staff to facilitate these sorts of orders. Call ahead before heading out to look for food.

Baker does consulting work for restaurants, bars and liquor stores. He says the industry is wading through an unprecedented set of circumstances.

So we're carrying forward we're working diligently as we can to try to keep the businesses open as much as business can be open.

"It's safe to say that a lot of these issues are those that we've never had to face before," Baker said Friday. "We're carrying forward, we're working diligently as we can to try to keep the businesses open as much as business can be open.”