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NJ ABC Seeks To Revoke Liquor License for Violation of Governor’s COVID-19 Orders

The Attorney General announced that the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Bureau was seeking to revoke the liquor license owned by Billings, Inc., trading as Post Time Pub, located in Blairstown, New Jersey. According to the charges issued by the ABC Enforcement Bureau, Post Time Pub serve alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption on March 27 and April 2 in violation of Governor Murphy’s emergency orders related to COVID-19. Normally, a violation of an Order would only carry a 10-day suspension. However, because the Executive Order signed by Governor Murphy was issued during a declared State of Emergency, the violation allegedly “poses an imminent threat to the public health, safety and welfare.”

Executive Order 107, which incorporated and superseded Executive Order 104 issued by Governor Murphy on March 16, permitted bars and restaurants to remain open as essential businesses but only for take-out or delivery services of food and alcohol. Guidelines issued by ABC clarified that under the Executive Order 107, no licensee with a retail consumption privilege is permitted to sell, serve or deliver alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.

In the filing, ABC’s Enforcement Bureau stated that local police observed owner Billings serving what appeared to be alcohol to a patron in her bar. After issuing Billings a summons and warning her that her conduct violated Governor Murphy’s emergency directives, police again observed Billings serving patrons on April 2.

What Happens if the Revoke a Liquor License in New Jersey?

Generally, once a license is “revoked”, the license ceases to exist. That means that no one else can purchase or use the license. For municipalities that have already reached their “population cap”, they will not be able to issue a new license to replace the revoked license. Furthermore, Alcoholic Beverage Control Laws prohibit any person who has an interest in an alcoholic beverage license which is revoked from having any interest in any other license for a period of two years from the effective date of revocation. Therefore, if a license is revoked, the individuals who have an interest in that license must immediately divest the interest in any other licenses that they held. Additionally, a second revocation forever prohibits a person from having any interest in an alcoholic beverage license in New Jersey.

New Jersey Liquor License Attorney

If you own a liquor license that is facing criminal charges or ABC charges, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Former New Jersey Deputy Attorney General, William C. Fay, heads our Liquor Law Practice Group. We handle all types of ABC matters including purchasing a liquor license, applying for a manufacturing license (brewery, winery, out of state winery, distillery, etc), and all other regulatory issues.

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