The OLCC Will Suspend Requirement That Retailers Accept Cans and Bottles Nov. 18

The agency that oversees the Bottle Bill will put part of it on hold as Oregonians are urged to stay home.

Walking between rainstorms in downtown Portland. (Alex Wittwer)

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission announced late Monday that it will suspend retailers' obligation to redeem containers covered by the Bottle Bill beginning Nov. 18 as a result of the intensifying COVID-19 pandemic.

Nov. 18 is the date when Gov. Kate Brown has ordered Oregonians to intensify social distancing, including limiting gatherings to no more than six people. On Nov. 13, Brown announced a series of measures, including the shutdown of gyms and other indoor spaces and the limiting of capacity in groceries and other retailers to 75% and the closure of indoor dining at restaurants and bars.

The governor said those measures will be in effect for two weeks statewide and for four weeks in counties, such as Multnomah, that are experiencing exceptionally aggressive spread of COVID-19.

"The Oregon Liquor Control Commission temporarily will not take enforcement action against Oregon retailers that choose not to accept the return of empty beverage containers for redemption. During the statewide freeze, if stores don't take back empty beverage containers, the OLCC will not issue them a notice of violation," the OLCC said in a statement tonight.

"Retailers that choose to do so can still accept containers for redemption; there is no mandate that retailers not refuse containers. Even if stores choose not to accept container returns at this time, a 10 cent deposit will still be assessed on the purchase of all eligible beverage containers."

Oregon BottleDrop locations will continue to operate during the shutdown. Retailers will be required to resume accepting containers for redemption within five days of the end of the shutdown in the county where the retailer is located.

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