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Coronavirus: Ontario lowers liquor prices for bars and restaurants

FILE - This Aug. 2, 2010 file photo shows a martini glass and shaker at a bar in San Francisco. On Friday, April 3, 2020, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly asserting that drinking alcoholic beverages can prevent coronavirus. According to Dr. Robert Legare Atmar, an infectious disease specialist at Baylor College, consuming alcohol will not protect against infectious diseases like COVID-19. “Alcohol consumption has long been touted as a means to prevent infection with a variety of pathogens, but there is no evidence that such alcohol consumption protects against any infection. In fact, the evidence is often the opposite – that alcohol consumption is associated with increased risk of infection,” Dr. Atmar told the AP in an email. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The Ontario government is temporarily lowering minimum prices for liquor sold in bars and restaurants in what they say is a move to help the struggling hospitality industry as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“Effective immediately, the price for whiskey, gin, rum, and other spirits will be temporarily reduced from the current licensee minimum price of $2.00 per 29 mL to $1.34 per 29 mL,” an Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) news release said Tuesday night.  “By making spirits more affordable the government is providing further support to restaurants, bars, and other establishments that cannot serve patrons in-house during the current state of emergency.”

The AGCO added that this pricing structure would only apply to takeout and delivery orders from bars and restaurants that come with food orders.

The measure will expire on Jan. 1, 2021.

“Licensed establishments may still choose the price at which they will sell alcohol, as long as they are not lower than the minimum price requirements,” the AGCO said.

The government has also temporarily removed a requirement for cider manufacturers to have at least five acres of planted fruit in order to operate a store on site.

“This change will allow all licensed manufacturers of cider to sell their products on-site or deliver directly to consumers across Ontario,” the AGCO said.