Due to changes made by Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission this month in response to COVID-19, local liquor stores and restaurants have been able to make adjustments to stay open and offer products to customers.
On March 17, ABLE announced that restaurants with beer and wine licenses could sell canned or bottled beer and canned or bottled wine as part of a curbside food sale. ABLE followed that up March 24 by allowing liquor and beer to be delivered by employees of liquor stores, small brewers, small farm wineries, grocery stores, convenient stores, and restaurants, bars, and clubs that have mixed beverage, beer and wine, or caterer/mixed beverage licenses.
Both are authorized until April 17.
No third-party businesses can deliver for the licensee, and all buyers must still be 21 or older. Payments can be made in cash, check, or debit/credit card through a card processor, such as Square. Online payments are restricted by ABLE.
Kroner & Baer Pub has been offering the delivery of beverages and food since Wednesday. Owner Chris Whytal said they took four delivery orders the first day, and a majority of them were just for food. Deliveries will be made within a five-mile radius of the pub, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. Kroner doesn’t charge a delivery fee, but there is a $35 minimum purchase.
A no-touch delivery is available for food-only orders that are paid for over the phone.
“We’re taking all proper precautions. We’re sanitizing several times a day and wearing gloves,” said Whytal.
The alcohol and food menus are available on the Kroner & Baer Pub Facebook page, and the number to call or text is 918-401-9522.
The Grill is offering drive-thru and delivery options for beer and wine if food is also ordered. The hours are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m., and the number is 918-456-4210. Deliveries are within city limits
"We've had a couple of beer deliveries with food," said Leda Palmer, The Grill associate. "It has to be closed containers of beer or wine. You can't do liquor."
The Grill patio has been transformed into a drive-thru so customers don't have to get out of their vehicles.
Palmer said as soon as the food is ready, it will go into a new sealed bag, and the order will head out the door.
"It helps keep the food warm and sanitized," she said. "If they want food for later, they can specify a time."
Joey Paden, owner of At the Y Liquor, said he has had a few people use the delivery option, but it’s been mainly regular customers.
“We encourage curbside because it doesn’t get me out of the store. It’s a lot easier for payment because we don’t have to carry change or mess with credit cards. We’re not set up for mobile payments,” he said. “It’s one of the things we’ll have to wing it for a few days. I haven’t been in the delivery business before. Curbside is more convenient and quicker.”
Deliveries are being made noon to 8 p.m. Paden said they will deliver anywhere that is about 10 minutes from the store, but he prefers not to drive through Tahlequah.
“Woodall and Keys are real easy. It takes about six minutes to get to Keys,” he said. “If we have to meet somewhere, we can.”
Purchases must be $35 or more, and At the Y charges a $5 delivery fee. Paden said he’s not looking to make money; it’s helping to cover the cost of gas.
The liquor store is still open, and surfaces are getting wiped down regularly.
“We have a routine. We’ve been cleaning every hour, depending on how busy we are. We’re sanitizing everything,” said Paden.
Other than high-proof alcohol products and some Coke products, Paden said the supply chain is doing well, and sales numbers are good.
“We’ve seen a 50 percent increase every day. It varies day to day. Saturday was a normal day. Throughout the week is when it’s been busy,” he said.
Paden said his employees are fortunate to have jobs right now.
“We’re lucky we can give them a job,” he said. “They could change it any day so that we’d have to close.”
He thinks that with the pandemic just reaching the area, the April 17 date will be extended.