Cheaper booze could be on the menu for your next takeout order

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While restaurants across the province struggle to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government is allowing the pricetag to be dropped on spirits.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says in a news release that the province is stepping up to help affected hospitality workers and businesses — by allowing licenced restaurants and bars to sell spirits with a food order at a lower price.

Effective immediately, there will be a temporary price reduction for whiskey, gin, rum and other spirits. It could save them about $8 for a mickey and almost $17 for a 750 millilitre bottle.

But that doesn't mean establishments need to lower their menu prices on drinks.

The government wants to make spirits more affordable in order to provide further support to restaurants, bars and other establishments that can't serve people in-house due to COVID-19.

It won't last forever — the measure will be rolled back January 1, 2021. That matches the duration of the temporary ability for bars and restaurants to sell alcohol with food for takeout and delivery, which is in place until New Year's Eve.

As for cideries, AGCO has temporarily removed the requirement for cideries to have five acres of planted fruit to qualify for an on-site store. The change is aimed at allowing licenced cider manufacturers to sell their products on-site or deliver directly to consumers.