TABC's No. 1 priority is the health and safety of Texans. We encourage all industry members to follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health officials in the days and weeks to come as the nation fights the coronavirus pandemic.
What You Should Know
TABC recognizes the major impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on the alcoholic beverage industry due to mandated business closures, event cancellations and other protective measures. To help the industry during this difficult time, we're providing answers to common questions you may have.
In most cases, the existing laws in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code and Administrative Rules will apply. But if TABC can relax an agency process, or if the Governor's Office grants a statutory exception to help businesses weather global health and economic challenges, we will reflect those changes on this page and connect you to further guidance.
COVID-19 Operating Status
Gov. Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-34, lifting the mask mandate in Texas and increasing capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100% beginning Wednesday, March 10 at 12:01 a.m.
Starting March 10, 2021
Executive Order GA-34 provides that in all counties not in an area with high hospitalizations:
- there are no COVID-19-related operating limits for any business or other establishment; and
- individuals are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household, but no person may be required by any jurisdiction to wear or to mandate the wearing of a face covering.
Businesses should check local regulations. Under Executive Order GA-34, if COVID-19 hospitalizations in any of the 22 Texas hospital regions get above 15% of the hospital bed capacity in that region for seven straight days, a county judge in that region may use COVID-19 mitigation strategies.
County-level restrictions cannot reduce capacity to less than 50% for any type of entity.
A current list of areas with high hospitalizations will be maintained at the Department of State Health Services website.
If you reopened as a restaurant by filing a 51% Affidavit with TABC:
- You may begin operating like a bar (i.e., conduct alcohol sales at 51% or more) and you do NOT need to rescind the affidavit or file anything else with TABC.
If you reopened as a restaurant by acquiring a Food and Beverage (FB) Certificate:
- You may begin operating like a bar without filing anything with TABC. You must keep the appropriate sales records, and you may be subject to a future audit of your Food and Beverage (FB) Certificate.
Print From Work or Home
Instead of picking up a 60-day notice sign from a TABC office, you can download, print and assemble your own sign from a standard home or business printer.
Commercial or Large-Size Printing
To print this version of the sign, you'll need the ability to print on paper big enough to meet the size requirements in law*. The sign must both:
- Be 24 by 36 inches
- Use two-inch lettering
*Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 11.391. Notice by Sign.
Process for Submitting Applications to TABC
- Fill out the appropriate PDF application form.
- Email your completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Email subject line must state "application for "
- TABC will accept electronic signatures or copies/pdfs of electronic signatures on applications, including those required of local officials.
- If notary certification is required, it may be obtained either electronically or manually.
- For those unable to get notary certification due to the coronavirus situation, for the duration of Governor Abbott's disaster proclamation, TABC will allow applicants to submit a form that adheres to the parameters for unsworn declarations.
Paying Your Application Fees
- Mail your application fees directly to TABC's Licensing Division at 5806 Mesa Drive Suite 170 Austin, TX 78731.
- Payment must be made in the form of a corporate check, money order, or cashiers' check.
- You may include a copy of your payment when you email your application.
- TABC must receive your payment before the agency will issue your license/permit.
License and permit applicants who need to submit their Comptroller of Public Accounts Certificate as part of their prequalification packet can still get their certification by mail. Applicants should mail the certification form found in their packet to the nearest Comptroller field office.
Comptroller employees continue to work remotely and will sign, stamp and return the form to you by mail.
Alcohol Delivery and Pickup
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code authorizes distillers to manufacture alcohol, convert it into a medicinal product such as hand sanitizer, and then sell it without additional TABC licenses or permits (See TX Alc. Bev. Code Chapter 38).
There is no Texas excise tax or TABC reporting required for hand sanitizer (but keep records because there may be federal tax implications).
TABC Label Approval
There are no TABC label approval requirements for hand sanitizer.
State and Federal Requirements
Distiller seeking to produce and sell hand sanitizer should make sure they consult with other state and federal entities:
- The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends that a distiller ensures that the resultant product remains at least 60% alcohol content.
- The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has issued public guidance.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has published a temporary policy for producing hand sanitizer during the public health emergency.
Selling and Donating Unfit Alcohol Products to a Distillery
Any TABC licensee or permittee may sell or donate their unfit products to a distillery for use in the production of hand sanitizer. Manufacturing tier members may also arrange for a distiller to turn their unfit product into hand sanitizer, which will remain the property of the manufacturer.
Transferring the Unfit Product to a Distillery
A brewery, distillery, or winery may transfer an alcoholic beverage in bulk that it produced to another brewery, distillery, or winery so long as the alcoholic beverage is used only for manufacturing purposes, and if the transfer is allowed under federal law. (TX Alc. Bev. Code. Sec. 109.63).
The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) defines bulk product as being "in containers having a capacity in excess of one wine gallon."
Neither party to the transfer is required to submit a report to TABC related to the transfer. However, both parties must document the transfer and retain operational records in accordance with TABC Rules 41.23 and 41.35. Additionally, you may need to keep documentation for the TTB.
TABC Tax Credit
If the product has already been packaged, canned, bottled, or kegged, the product manufacturer can apply for a TABC tax credit.
Follow the same process that you would if you were applying for a standard product destruction credit by filling out an Application for Destruction of Alcoholic Beverages form and submit it to your local TABC office. Please contact your local TABC office or email email@example.com if you have any questions.
Federal Guidelines for Shipping Alcohol-based Hand Sanitizer
Several federal regulations apply to distilleries transporting hand sanitizer in their own vehicles and to common carriers like FedEx and UPS. The regulations cover things like the size of the containers, labeling, placards on shipping vehicles, and the shipping papers that must accompany shipments.
Training provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation is available here.
Promotions Involving Hand Sanitizer
- License/permit holders may offer hand sanitizer for sale in a packaged deal.
- Example: "Buy two bottles of vodka and a container of hand sanitizer for $XX.XX"
- If giving hand sanitizer away for free, avoid conditioning this on the purchase of an alcohol product (TABC Administrative Rule 45.101).
Distribution and Wholesale Operations
Allowed to Repurchase Product
- Manufacturer's License (BA)
- Brewer's Self-Distribution Permit (DA)
- Brewer's Permit (B)
- Manufacturer's Self-Distribution License (DB)
- Brewpub License (BP)
- Distiller's and Rectifier's Permit (D)
- Winery Permit (G)
- General Distributor's License (BB)
- Branch Distributor's License (BC)
- Wholesaler's Permit (W)
- Wholesaler's (General Class B) Permit (X)
- Local Distributor's Permit (LP)
Repurchase unused/unopened alcoholic beverage products from retailers.
- Limited to relieving a retailer adversely affected by a major event cancellation due to the coronavirus.
- Examples: Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, SXSW, professional and college sporting events, concerts, theatrical productions, parades, etc.
- Only allowed for sales made to a retailer Feb. 16, 2020, or after.
- Must verify each repurchase using the original purchase invoice.
- Keep invoices in case of subsequent audits.
- Retailers are not guaranteed repurchase. The business repurchasing the alcohol has complete discretion over the decision to repurchase.
- Manufacturers may reimburse a distributor that repurchases product from a retailer under this authority.
The Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) recently issued similar guidance for industry members.
TABC has released guidance on removing and replacing malt beverage products in unbroken original packages from retailers affected by COVID-19. Read the Industry Notice here.
This is allowed thanks to a waiver issued by Gov. Abbott on March 15, 2020, pursuant to his disaster proclamation issued March 13, 2020.
TABC will allow the following process for wholesale deliveries to retailers:
- The delivery driver must sign the invoice.
- The delivery driver must write on the invoice the name of the retailer's representative that receives the delivery.
- The delivery driver must write on the invoice the date the inventory is delivered.
- The delivery driver must make a copy of the signed and dated invoice and send the copy to the retailer's representative within a reasonable time after the delivery.
- Both parties must keep a copy of the invoice for reconciliation and auditing purposes.
See the TABC Industry Notice to learn more.
On a case-by-case basis, TABC will not seek to penalize license and permit holders for late submission of excise tax reports and payments. You should:
- Fill out and email us this form to request a delay in your excise tax payment.
- Contact us directly if you won't be able to file your report on time.
- See the TABC Industry Notice to learn more.
TABC has made its final coronavirus-related extension of Cash and Credit Law penalty exemptions (detailed below) and will resume normal enforcement April 2, 2021.
Cash and credit laws remain in effect.
Upper Tier Members
- Are still required to comply with cash and credit law statutes.
- Are responsible for reporting violations of these statutes.
- Must still pay distributors what they owe before purchasing new alcohol inventory.
- TABC will not penalize retailers that fail to make timely payments for these dates:
- Cash law purchases from March 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021. TABC will begin normal enforcement April 2, 2021, and cash law violations after March 31, 2021 will be ineligible for penalty exemptions.
- Credit law purchases from March 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021, associated with delinquent lists #1794 to #1819. List #1819 for the March 16 – 31 delivery period will be the last delivery period when penalty exemptions are applicable.
There are no additional cash and credit law penalty extensions planned.
Many TABC offices across the state are open for scheduled in-person appointments with our licensing and audit staff. To learn more, visit our TABC Appointments page.
Offices Accepting Appointments
- Region 1: Lubbock Regional Office (Licensing only)
- Region 2: Arlington Regional Office
- Region 3: Houston Regional Office
- Region 4: Austin Regional Office
- Region 5: San Antonio Regional Office
- Abilene Office
- Amarillo Office
- Belton Office
- Bryan Office
- Corpus Christi Office
- Dickinson Outpost
- McAllen Office
- Richmond Office
- Waco Office
- Wichita Falls Office
Before scheduling an in-person appointment, find your closest office. If your nearest office is not listed above, it’s not open to the public for in-person appointments.
All Other Appointments
If you would like to schedule an in-person meeting at our Austin headquarters or with a team member in any other division, visit our Contact Us page to reach them directly and request an appointment.
Regular Coronavirus Updates
We send regular briefing emails covering news, guidance and information meant to help the alcoholic beverage industry during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sign up for our Industry Notifications to receive the Coronavirus Update and other important information.
Contact Us By Email
firstname.lastname@example.org For questions regarding licenses or permits.
email@example.com For questions about laws regulating the marketing of alcoholic beverages (i.e., advertising, promotions) and marketing relationships in the industry.
firstname.lastname@example.org For general inquiries about credit law or for wholesalers to report Notices of Default or Notices of Payment.
email@example.com For questions about who is required to file monthly excise reports or taxes on alcoholic beverages.
firstname.lastname@example.org For questions regarding label approval registration in Texas.
Please contact your local TABC office if you believe you will miss a deadline because of the coronavirus' impact. TABC will continue to assess the situation as it progresses.
You can also find information on this page about License and Permit Renewal Deadlines and Late Excise Tax Reports and Payments.
For More Guidance
Visit the Texas Department of State Health Services' Coronavirus webpage for the latest information and guidance from state health officials.