The Talbot liquor board, meeting Monday by video conference, discussed off-premises sales under an executive order and gave conditional liquor license approval to three restaurants.
The Board of Liquor License Commissioners of Talbot County also answered questions from license holders stemming from Maryland’s state of emergency and Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive orders allowing restaurants to sell beer, wine and alcohol for carryout and delivery.
During the state of emergency, any future liquor board meetings should be held only for a pressing matter, Gary Royer, liquor board chairman, said.
“We are under restrictions. This is not an emergency,” Royer said. “If we’re over the emergency, we can have a meeting on (April 13). If not, I don’t think this is necessary.”
Royer, Vice Chairman John Gottschalk, Assistant County Attorney Mary O’Donnell, and Board Secretary Patricia Finneyfrock were present in the same room for the meeting; Commissioner William Rolle participated by video conference.
“There may be additional curfews,” Gottschalk said.
The liquor board members would be able to meet by video conference using their home computers to maintain social distancing, O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell said staff members would discuss any potential items for the April 13 agenda; as of Monday, there were none.
Off-premises sales during state of emergency
Chris Agharabi, who owns and operates several restaurants in Maryland, including Ava’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar and Theo’s Steakhouse in St. Michaels, sought clarification on whether or not those restaurants could sell cocktails for carryout.
While the restaurants have liquor licenses allowing for off-premises sale of beer and wine, sales of liquor are limited to on-site consumption.
Being able to sell additional items for carryout and delivery would enable him to bring more employees back to work, he said, noting that the restaurant closure order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic had forced him to lay off 85 people.
Gov. Larry Hogan also issued an executive order allowing for restaurants and bars to sell beer, wine and alcohol for delivery and carryout during the state of emergency since those establishments have been ordered closed for dining.
“Whatever you have the ability to do on premises, you can do off premises,” O’Donnell told Agharabi, referring him to a recent letter from the liquor board.
“I apologize for not seeing it,” Agharabi said. “We’ve been trying to run the business.”
Licenses approved for three restaurants
The liquor board gave conditional approval to licenses for three restaurants — Rude BBQ (the former BBQ Joint) at 216 E. Dover St. in Easton, Corah’s Corner at 105 N. Talbot St. in St. Michaels, and Hammy’s Hideout at 209 S. Talbot St. in St. Michaels (former site of the Blackthorn Pub).
All three establishments have additional approvals and/or paperwork to provide to the liquor board office before a license will be issued.