COVID-19 Phase 5 Liquor Laws

Three cocktail glasses with liquor and ice

The pandemic caused a significant shutdown across the state. Over the course of 2021, Illinois has put in place a plan to reopen businesses using a phased approach that allows people to return to normalcy, at least in part. The plan is called the Restore Illinois Plan, and as of June 11, 2021, we entered Phase 5.

A Temporary Shift in Alcohol Sales and Delivery

Phase 5 provides guidance for several businesses and venues, including regulations for liquor laws. According to ongoing studies, alcohol consumption increased over the COVID-19 pandemic, which likely does not come as a surprise. As people were forced to stay home and avoid more normal interactions, alcohol was a way to have an association with social activities. People would Zoom with each other and drink. Some companies offered “get-togethers” that allowed people to stay home and have remote wine testing.

Historically, alcohol is a great way to unwind and socialize with fewer inhibitions. As the pandemic progressed, people grew more concerned about the future as their finances and situations became increasingly less certain.

As a result, Illinois implemented a number of laws that made it easier to purchase alcohol, which is usually very tightly regulated. As life resumes a more normal cadence and people can now go into liquor stores, bars, and restaurants, the laws are shifting again.

The End of Temporary Delivery and Off-Premises Sales

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Illinois legislators wanted to ensure people stayed home. Since people wanted to be able to gather together, and considering the hardship that the pandemic placed on people and businesses with liquor licenses, one of the best ways of convincing people to stay home was to lift a number of the restrictions about liquor sales.

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission issued two bulletins regarding sales:

With the release of several vaccines, businesses have been slowly reopening over 2021, making these temporary directions no longer necessary.

As of July 1, 2021, the delivery of alcohol off-premises is no longer allowed. This is important to note as many other services can still be delivered to the door, including groceries and food, but liquor stores and other on-site liquor businesses are no longer able to deliver alcohol to people’s homes.

It is probably one of the few changes that has garnered disappointment as people became accustomed to having their drinks of choice delivered to their home. However, you can still go get alcohol from your local businesses.

Local ordinances may make some changes, especially with the rise of cases of COVID-19 Delta variant.

If you still have questions, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission continues to update a list of COVID -19 Compliance – Phase 5 FAQ on their website, with the latest change being on June 11, 2021.

Jordan Matyas

Jordan Matyas

LinkedIn | Google

Jordan Matyas is a lawyer, lobbyist, and Founder of 1818 Legal, an Illinois professional licensing defense law firm he created in 2014. With more than 18 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including professional license defense, administrative law, land use and zoning, and state, local, and municipal law.

Jordan received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois — Chicago School of Law and is a member of the Illinois Bar Association.