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Bloomington Extends Broadened Package Liquor Rules To Clubs

Club organizations like the VFW can now offer delivery and curbside pickup of alcohol in Bloomington.

The City Council granted the permission during its virtual meeting Monday night, voting to modify the local emergency order approved on March 26. The amendment extends the temporary curbside and delivery alcohol allowance for restaurants and bars to club liquor license holders during the state’s shelter-in-place directive.

“Private clubs came to us after the other order was approved and asked if they could be included because they’ve got stock sitting on their shelves that they’re not able to sell because of the stay-at-home order,” said City Manager Tim Gleason.

With the revised alcohol policy, the original emergency declaration will remain in effect for repeated 28-day periods until it is repealed. It will appear on every City Council agenda so a repeal can be considered as soon as the pandemic subsides.

Council member Jenn Carrillo questioned why the curbside sales privilege has not been extended to tobacco shops. Mayor Tari Renner and city attorney Jeff Jurgens explained that the state does not consider vapor and tobacco sales as essential businesses.

COVID-19 impact

Renner stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic is more than an inconvenience to residents.

“It’s really, really a crisis – in terms of employment, in terms of housing issues, in terms of food, in terms of health care,” he said. “They’re hitting our least-advantaged citizens the hardest, and I think that we’ve got to recognize that as we move forward.”

With a new fiscal year set to begin May 1, Gleason said the council and staff will have a discussion about a potential decrease in revenue. But he said the city’s enterprise funds are not impacted by COVID-19, allowing capital projects to move forward.

“I’m not going to say that we’re in a great position; I’m not going to say that things couldn’t change,” Gleason said. "But for right now we are in a decent (financial) position.”  

Gleason said no city employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and that services remain close to 100% functional. Responding to questions from council member Jamie Mathy, Gleason said that parks remain open although golf courses are closed under state order and that the start of bulk waste collection was moved from May 1 to July 1, though the city’s convenience center is open.

Council member Kim Bray praised city staff and her colleagues for effectively handling the crisis and taking on more responsibilities.

“Truly this is a catastrophe. While it is challenging, I see that our community is addressing it in ways that show great leadership, courage and talent. … We will have roles that we need to play and we will have accountability,” she said.

Consent agenda

The council also approved 20 consent agenda items, including a $1.4 million purchase of new water meters and related accessories from Ferguson Enterprises. The city also will pay Ferguson up to $200,000 over two years on gateway antennas for the water meters.

Mathy originally moved to table the vote on the antennas over concerns about their frequencies and leaving the city committed to one vendor, but he ultimately withdrew the motion.

Also approved through the consent agenda was a $1.38 million rehab project on the East Hamilton Road water tank.

We’re living in unprecedented times when information changes by the minute. WGLT will continue to be here for you, keeping you up-to-date with the live, local and trusted news you need. Help ensure WGLT can continue with its in-depth and comprehensive COVID-19 coverage as the situation evolves by making a contribution.

Joe Deacon is a reporter at WCBU.
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