COVID-19: Michigan Restaurant & Bar Relief Package

July 2, 2020

With the recent reclosure of indoor service at many lower peninsula Michigan bars, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed SB 942, HB 5811 and HB 5781, which aim to provide relief for bars, restaurants and other hospitality businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.


“The MLBA, its members and all 8,500 licensees throughout the state have something to be excited about today,” said MLBA Executive Director Scott Ellis. “We would like to thank Governor Whitmer, Senator Nesbitt, Representative Webber and Representative Anthony for their focus and hard work for bringing these ideas to fruition in a timely manner.”


This package includes:

  1. Raising the current 17% discount on spirits purchased from the state by an on-premises account to 23 percent for a 12-month period. 

  2. Allows for drinks to go and the delivery of drinks by on-premises licensees until Dec. 31, 2025.

  3. Two-for-one pricing on drinks sold in a licensed establishment.

  4. Increases the amount of spirits an on-premises account can purchase from an off-premises account from nine liters per month (108 liters per year) to 120 liters per year with no monthly cap. 

  5. Creates an exception to the aid and assistance rule to allow a manufacturer to refund a wholesaler for expired products. 

  6. Allows small distilleries to sell drinks to go and samples in the licensed establishments. 

  7. Allows local governmental units to establish social districts with a commons area that multiple on-premises licensees can use to increase sales via permit until Dec. 31, 2024.


“These bills are critical to the survival of the hospitality industry because we don’t know how long we will be operating at this reduced capacity while many bars are continuing to accrue debt and face financial hardship,” Ellis said. “Everything in this package will help businesses with their long-term recovery as we continue to transition back to normal.”