Montgomery Co. OKs late-night alcohol sales with new rules

Last call in Montgomery County, Maryland, is getting pushed back.

Under an executive order updated Thursday, establishments can apply for a late-night alcohol sales permit that allows them to once again serve booze until midnight.

Places that receive the permit should expect frequent, unscheduled inspections, the county says.

In addition, bars and restaurants would have to have dedicated staff or hire a contractors whose sole job is enforcing social distancing and mask rules inside the restaurant.

Those who violate the permit requirements face steep penalties.

Establishments found to be in violation will be subject to:

  • Immediate revocation of the permit;
  • Suspension or revocation of their license to sell alcohol; and/or
  • Fines up to $20,000.

There are also criteria that would immediately suspend the permits, such as:

  • The county’s three-day test positivity average exceeding 3.25%;
  • The three-day average of confirmed COVID-19 cases exceeds 100;
  • There is an increased association of indoor and outdoor dining with COVID-19 positive contacts of greater than 3% combined;
  • Or more than 10% of inspected participants result in findings that warrant a citation, closure or revocation of a permit.

The COVID-19 Late-Night permit application can be found online.

Under Phase Two of the county’s coronavirus reopening plan, restaurants and bars in Montgomery County were allowed to reopen with dine-in hours and alcohol hours lasting until midnight under the original version of the county However, in early August, the county tightened restrictions, prohibiting establishments from serving alcohol to dine-in customers after 10 p.m.

County Executive Marc Elrich said at the time the tightened restrictions came after data from the state’s contact-tracing teams found indoor diners were more likely to flout social distancing rules late at night.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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