The state of Michigan has bought $3.1 million worth of alcohol back from businesses that were not able to sell their stock due to coronavirus-related temporary closures.
As of Monday afternoon, April 27, 620 applications had been processed for a total of more than $3.13 million. At least another 67 applications were submitted before the April 24 deadline and remain in process.
Additional applications will be accepted if they were submitted via U.S. mail before last week’s deadline
Michigan introduced the spirits buyback program to allow bars and restaurants with on-premises liquor licenses to sell unused spirits back to the state while the industry was hampered by the COVID-19 outbreak. The deadline was initially April 17, but was extended to April 24 to allow more businesses to take advantage of the program.
The state will not physically take possession of the spirits through the program due to the risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission associated with in-person contact. Liquor licensees approved for the program have 90 days after the state’s emergency and disaster declarations are lifted to re-purchase the alcohol.
Pat Gagliardi, chair of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, said the deadline was extended to allow more small businesses owners time to take advantage of the program.
“They are the backbone of Michigan’s hospitality and beverage alcohol industries and are vital to Michigan’s economic vitality,” Gagliardi said in a prepared statement. “These zero-interest measures are being taken to help sustain the financial viability of these business owners who are being severely impacted by this health crisis.”
The executive order applied to remaining inventory purchased prior to March 16, and offered their full purchase price in return.
Last month, Gov. Whitmer signed an executive order that banned in-person dining at restaurants and closed bars, gyms, theaters, casinos, and other places of public accommodation through April 30. Many aspects of the order were recently extended through May 15.
The 67 applications still in process as of Monday were incomplete as they were either missing the inventory list or application. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission will allow those license holders to complete their application despite the expiration of the program’s deadline.