by Scott McClallen
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday night signed Executive Order 2020-46 to allow the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) to buy back spirits from eligible bars and restaurants that she ordered to close temporarily in response to COVID-19.
Under the order, the MLCC can buy establishments’ spirit inventory bought before March 16 at the full purchase price.
The MLCC is expected to meet Tuesday to take additional action and must accept all requests made from certain licensees by 5 p.m. Friday.
Eligible businesses can apply here.
The order aims to alleviate financial loss from those establishments that haven’t been able to sell hard alcohol for almost a month.
Upon cash buyback, MLCC will hold the legal title to stores’ spirits but won’t hold the physical spirit inventory until at least 90 days after the end of the declared emergency and disaster.
Stores are responsible for preserving spirit inventory.
Liquor licensees approved for the program have until 90 days after the state’s emergency and disaster declarations are lifted to re-purchase the spirits at full price to regain their spirit title from the MLCC.
“Michigan’s 8,500 on-premises liquor licensees continue to make unprecedented sacrifices to help slow the spread of COVID-19 across our state,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This buy-back program will help our bars and restaurants critical to Michigan’s economy weather the storm through this challenging time in our history.”
Whitmer also announced she was extending several other previous executive orders, including:
Executive Order 2020-43 extended the closures of many public businesses, including libraries and gyms, and limits on restaurants to carryout and delivery services through April 30;
Executive Order 2020-44 extended the suspension of seasonal load and time delivery restrictions until May 11 for deliveries related to COVID-19;
Executive Order 2020-45 allows administrative hearings to be held electronically for groups, including the Michigan Employment Relations Commission and the Unemployment Insurance Agency.
The extensions last through May 11.
Executive Order 2020-47 extends expiration of valid drivers’ licenses, state ID cards and commercial vehicle registrations through June 30.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org.