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Michigan Licensed Beverage Association

Serving Liquor Licensees Since 1939

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In Effort with MLCC, MLBA Helped Launch Reopening Resources for On-Premises Licensees

Mason Doerr  | Published on 5/19/2020


Today, MLCC released a reopening resource page that provides licensees with guides, license and permit applications and other relevant content. The MLBA, along with other industry groups and MLCC, have been working together as part of a workgroup tasked with coming up with ideas to help ease licensees back into business upon reopening. Some of the ideas include expanding outdoor service areas and cutting the red tape for additional licenses and permits. Below are some of those ideas that have come to fruition. We hope the governor continues to open up new areas of the state quickly and we look forward to helping licensees reopen safely.

“We were happy to be a part of the workgroup that made this happen,” MLBA Executive Director Scott Ellis said. “Any members who have questions about reopening in general or about anything released today from MLCC are more than welcome to give us a call. We are here to help guide you through the process and get you ready to reopen.”

The Commission and a number of industry partners have prepared resources to aid licensees as they prepare to reopen to the public.

When licensees are allowed to reopen to the public, all licensees must comply with Executive Orders, local health department orders, and local ordinances regarding reduced occupancy rates and social distancing protocols related to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The MLCC has prepared a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) for on-premises licensees regarding reopening to customers. This FAQ document will be updated with new information as it becomes available. Posted below are reopening resources from a number of industry partners and links to several Commission forms that licensees may find useful for preparing to reopen their businesses to the public.


MLCC Reopening Resources (Coronavirus/Covid-19)




To help boost the safe reopening of bars and restaurants across the state, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) today announced streamlined licensing for outdoor services and additional bar permits, and launched a new webpage with reopening guidelines and resources for liquor licensees.

“At the governor’s direction, we are pleased to join her in helping liquor licensees get back to business in a safe and profitable way. This is our top priority right now,” said MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi. “Licensees brought their needs to the table through a ‘reopening workgroup’ and the Commission took action. I want to thank MLCC Commissioners Ed Clemente and Brad Jacobsen, co-chairs of the workgroup and all those who participated to help make these changes happen.”

The MLCC convened a “Reopening Workgroup” comprised of stakeholders, liquor licensees and other interest groups that met virtually to share ideas and consider written suggestions from restaurant and bar owners on what they needed to help them prepare for reopening their businesses. As a result, the MLCC is now streamlining the application process for:

  • outdoor service expansions or new requests for the 2020 summer season
  • adding a Specially Designated Merchant (SDM) license to an existing Class C license, allowing for unopened beer and wine to be taken off-premises for consumption, and
  • additional bar permits.

Liquor licensees can go to the new Reopening Resources webpage at: for these applications and much more information, including:

  • Reopening Frequently Asked Questions
  • reopening guidelines from trade associations, and
  • survey results of Michigan residents’ perceptions and expectations after stay-at-home orders end.

These steps are the latest measures taken by the MLCC to assist liquor licensees whose businesses have been impacted by Executive Orders issued during this COVID-19 health crisis. Over the last several weeks, the MLCC has by Administrative Order:

  • implemented Gov. Whitmer’s spirits buyback program, buying back almost $3.4 million in spirits from 673 on-premises liquor licensees
  • extended the application deadline for the buyback program to allow more licensees to participate
  • extended the annual license renewal date from April 30 to May 31, 2020 for 22,000 licensees
  • extended due dates for licensees to file monthly and quarterly tax reports to July 15, 2020; and
  • modified the requirement for licensees to place their license in escrow if inactive for more than 30 days.

Upon reopening, licensees have a responsibility to take all necessary steps to minimize the risk and combat the spread of the coronavirus in their hospitality establishments and communities all across Michigan.

For more information on the coronavirus/COVID-19 state of emergency please visit the State of Michigan’s coronavirus website at

The mission of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) is to make alcoholic beverages available for consumption while protecting the consumer and the general public through regulation of those involved in the sale and distribution of these alcohol beverage products.

Forms for Reopening Related License and Permit Requests

Form Name and Number Form Description
Request to Release License From Escrow (LCC-108a) Licensee may use this form to request a license to be released
from escrow for active operation.
New On-Premises Specially Designated Merchant (SDM) License Application (LCC-114) On-premises retailer licensees* may apply for a new
SDM license to allow for the sale of beer and wine in its original container to go and to sellgrowlers of beerto go.
(*Class C, Tavern, A-Hotel, B-Hotel, Club, G-1, & G-2 licenses)
New Additional Bar Application (LCC-115)
  • Class C and B-Hotel licenses are issued with permission for one (1) bar, but must apply for and be issued Additional Bar approval for each bar where alcoholic liquor (beer, wine, or spirits) is sold to, served to, or consumed by customers.
  • Class C or B-Hotel licensees that have golf courses must have an Additional Bar for each beverage cart used to serve alcohol to customers in the approved outdoor service area for the golf course.

(A-Hotel, Tavern, G-1, G-2, and Club licenses and
manufacturer tasting roomsdo notrequire
Additional Bar approval to have more than one bar

2020 Limited Permanent Outdoor Service
Permission Application (LCC-204a)
During the ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, an on-premises retailer licensee or manufacturer licensee with an On-Premises Tasting Room Permit or Off-Premises Tasting Room license may apply for a limited permanent outdoor service area that meets the following conditions:


  • The outdoor service area must comply with reduced occupancy and social distancing requirements under any current Executive Order, local county health department orders, and any local ordinances related to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
  • If the outdoor area will be located on municipal property, such as a city sidewalk, the licensee must submit written approval from the local governmental unit authorizing the use of the municipal property.
  • The limited permanent outdoor service permission will be valid only from June 1, 2020 to no later than October 31, 2020.
  • The outdoor service area must be in the same local governmental unit as the licensed premises.
  • The outdoor service area must be no more than 25 feet from the licensed premises.
  • The outdoor service area must not be separated from the license premises by a public street or road.
  • The outdoor service area must not exceed 20,000 square feet in total space.
  • The outdoor service area is not located on a balcony or rooftop.

For an outdoor service area that does not meet the criteria above or if you wish to enlarge an existing outdoor service area, please use theOutdoor Service Permanent Permission Application (LCC-204)for a regular permanent outdoor service area.