Curbside sales and home delivery of alcohol extended in Alaska

The state's Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office has adopted the regulations as permanent through Nov. 15
Several bars and restaurants in Anchorage have been able to stay afloat by taking their...
Several bars and restaurants in Anchorage have been able to stay afloat by taking their business outside during the pandemic.(KTUU)
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 8:20 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - With increased restrictions on building capacity and social distancing requirements, restaurants and bars in Alaska have taken big hits - during a summer season which has already seen diminished business, resulting from lower tourism levels.

One solution has been the decision to take business outside. Several establishments in Anchorage have taken that route, electing to set up covered dining areas in parking lots as a way of increasing their available table space. Now, with case numbers climbing daily, the municipality is restoring many of the restrictions that were loosening earlier in the year.

This week, the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office announced that regulations put in place earlier in the year will be extended until mid-November. The rules allow for restaurants, bars and liquor stores to sell alcohol at the businesses curbside, or via home delivery.

For those who have taken to the new regulations as a way of maintaining business, it’s welcome news. Crush Bistro in Wine Cellar in Downtown Anchorage is probably the most obvious example. Thanks to an initiative that was put into affect by the municipality, the block of G street that runs in front of their restaurant has been shut down, and turned into an open-air dining area.

“The state alcohol board helped make the G street closure happen,” Crush co-owner Scott Anaya told KTUU. “It has afforded us the ability to have outside dining with the bistro -and honestly- in this economic climate, it will allow us to tread some water for a little while longer.”

Elsewhere, restaurants may not be able to fill entire streets with customers, but outdoor space is certainly being used to sit more guests. In Midtown, Bear Paw Bar and Grill opened in the middle of the pandemic. According to general manager James Mooney, the ability to convert a large portion of the restaurant’s parking lot into a covered dining area has allowed Bear Paw to keep it’ doors open.

“It’s the difference maker,” he said. “we only have 50% capacity and being able to do this, it can be a lifeline for our restaurant. It could be a matter of stay open, or shutting down.”

While AMCO’s regulations will be in effect until Nov. 15, the “Downtown Open Streets” initiative will expire at the end of August. On Wednesday, members of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership told KTUU that talks had not yet taken place about whether or not an extension would be possible.

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