Georgians may soon be able to order beer and wine online for “curbside pickup” at their local grocery and liquor stores.
The state Department of Revenue put the proposed regulation out for public comment earlier this week, and the agency will hold a Nov. 17 hearing on it before making a final decision.
“We recognize that this is the new normal, that today so much commerce is happening online,” state Revenue Commissioner Lynne Riley said.
Her agency has been working on the proposed rule for nearly a year after local retailers began asking about it as they boosted efforts to make ordering and pickup more accessible to a public accustomed to one- or two-click ordering online.
“We thought it was important there was clarity,” Riley said, “and that those that would be seeking to use this new customer service opportunity would know there were certain requirements of them in the performance of that.”
Only beer and wine sales are allowed under the proposal. Stores that sell hard liquor — what the state calls “distilled spirits” — are not eligible.
Customers wanting to take advantage of ordering online would have to register with their local store before they could make a purchase.
The new rules would prohibit anyone other than the person registered on the account from making the pickup, with employees required to electronically record either a driver’s license or other identification that verifies who the person is and his or her age.
The sales also could not be prepaid. Instead, payment is finalized at the time of pickup, once identification is completed. Stores that violate the rules would face losing their sales license for at least a month, with repeat violators potentially facing a year’s suspension.
Riley was also mindful that local municipalities may have additional rules about allowing or prohibiting such sales, which would still be subject to local oversight. So local ordinances could supersede state regulations if, for instance, a city wants to prohibit curbside service.
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