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Michigan Extends Deadline for Bars to Sell Their Booze Back to the State

The deadline has been moved to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 24

A brown cocktail with orange peel garnish in a coup on a wood counter with a white subway tile background at Selden Standard. Michelle and Chris Gerard

The state of Michigan has agreed to extend the deadline for a spirits buyback program designed to give bars and restaurants temporary financial relief. The deadline for the program, authorized by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday, was originally set for 5 p.m. on Friday, April 17 — an incredibly optimistic timeline for a program that was barely getting organized on Tuesday. The new deadline is set for 5 p.m. on Friday, April 24.

Under the order, restaurants and bars can essentially sell their unused bottles of beer, wine, and liquor purchased prior to March 16 back to the state in exchange for a cash refund for the full cost of the alcohol. Owners must then pay back the refund within 90 days of the state’s emergency and disasters declarations being lifted. If businesses fail to repay the value of the spirits within that period, then the state will take possession of the alcohol. Applications are open on the Michigan Liquor Control Commission’s website.

The program has received a mixed response from the business community, with some saying the temporary loan doesn’t go far enough to help the state’s struggling food and beverage industry. Some bars and restaurants are asking the state to join others in loosening liquor laws to temporarily allow for the sale of takeout beer, wine, and cocktails.

Eater is tracking the impact of the novel coronavirus on the local food industry. Have a story to share? Reach out at detroit@eater.com.

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