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P.G. liquor board tightens rules on alcohol delivery

- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Prince George's County liquor board approved a measure Wednesday that establishes more stringent rules governing the home delivery of alcohol by liquor stores.

The new rules, which required approval from the board and better record keeping on the part of businesses that choose to deliver, will provide "more accountability" to the practice, which had been legal but unregulated in the county.

"It's a very sensitive issue and the board will watch it very closely," Board of License Commissioners chairman Franklin D. Jackson said Wednesday night.

Despite concern voiced by members of the County Council — some of whose members wanted to eliminate alcohol delivery altogether amid concerns that it could lead to easier access for people under 21 — the board approved the measure in a 4-0 vote Wednesday night. One member was absent.

As part of the new rules, the board will conduct a hearing and require a $250 fee from each store seeking to provide delivery and will annually review whether a store will be allowed to continue delivery.

Stores will be required to vet purchasers the same way they do when sales are made in-store to ensure customers are 21 or older. Employees delivering alcohol would have to be 18 or older and complete an alcohol-awareness program.

The board decided to review alcohol-delivery regulations after Potomac Gourmet Market, a grocery store at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, applied for permission to deliver alcohol to nearby residents. Only a handful of stores were providing delivery services at the time, officials said.

Although hearings on alcohol delivery garnered more attention than many other proposed measures in recent years, the fact that alcohol delivery has been legal for decades now gave Mr. Jackson confidence in the practice.

"Because it’s not new I don’t think there is as much apprehension as if it was new," he said.

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