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Curbside pick-up and drive thru liquor returns to Dickinson

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The Ponderosa Liquor & Wildlife Gallery's liquor sign is pictured. As of Tuesday, Nov. 3, liquor retailers and establishments with existing drive-thru windows are allowed to sell alcoholic beverages within the city after the Dickinson City Commission approved a moratorium at its scheduled public meeting. (Jackie Jahfetson/The Dickinson Press)

The Dickinson City Commission once again approved a moratorium on select city alcohol ordinances in a meeting on election day that permits liquor retailers to sell alcoholic beverages via curbside pick-up and drive-thru services throughout the city of Dickinson as part of economic relief measures.

The passage comes as a result of Stark County remaining one of 16 counties in the state elevated from “Yellow” (moderate risk) to "Orange" (high risk) on the state's coronavirus alert system last month.

In a 5-0 vote, commissioners unanimously approved the moratorium after a motion was made by Commissioner Nicole Wolla and seconded by Commissioner John Odermann.

Dickinson City Attorney Christina Wenko addressed the vote saying that the move was important as a way to allow for “extra flexibility for retailers.” Wenko did confirm that the moratorium this time, unlike the previous iteration, would be tied to the threat level of the state.

City Commissioner Suzi Sobolik asked the question if the commission needs to call off the moratorium if the county returned to the green or blue levels on the state coronavirus alert system.

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Wenko provided details as to how the process would work.

“It will remain in effect as long as the Stark County threat level is orange or higher. It will automatically cease if and when the threat level returns to yellow,” Wenko said. “If the threat level does return to yellow [and] then goes back to orange, it will once again be effective. In essence, it fluctuates with the Stark County’s threat level.”

Wenko remarked at the meeting that approving the moratorium as written is a way to avoid bringing the topic before the commission with each change in the threat level — noting while in yellow in store sales are still allowable, but when the city goes into the orange and red levels that’s when restrictions will have to be put in place on businesses and restaurants.

“I don’t believe that the lower threat levels are going to affect this. So we are more concerned about when they’re starting to limit and shut down restaurants and the ability for retailers to have individuals coming into their establishments,” Wenko clarified the city's position.

For licensed restaurants within the city that are also licensed for on-sale serving of alcoholic beverages, the sale of sealed cans or bottles of alcoholic beverages, which includes “sealed growlers to customers taking delivery of prepared food or meals from the restaurant on a ‘take-out’, ‘curbside delivery’, ‘drive-through’ or employees of said restaurant or by other lawful means of delivery shall be deemed to be ‘on-sale’ service or sale of such beverages,’” according to a city agenda document. Drive-thru sales entail Dickinson liquor stores that have existing drive-thru windows.

“This moratorium will terminate in its entirety when the State of North Dakota no longer assigns threat levels as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board of City Commissioners reserve the right to terminate or extend this Resolution by resolution or motion,” the city agenda document states.

Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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