KITCHENER -- The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announced Thursday that it would be allowing licensed restaurants and bars to serve alcohol with takeout and delivery food orders.

In a news release, the AGCO says the change is effective immediately in an effort to support restaurants and alcohol retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All liquor licensees can start offering this service immediately—they don't need to apply or pay a fee to do so.

The AGCO says that they can also sell liquor through third-party deliverers or ordering platforms.

“Everyone at the AGCO is concerned for the individuals, families, businesses and communities affected by this virus," CEO and Registrar of the AGCO Jean Major is quoted in the release.

"We are working closely with the Government of Ontario to find ways of supporting Ontarians and the sectors we regulate during these challenging times."

Retailers are still accountable for the responsible sale of alcohol, the AGCO says, meaning that they're responsible for ensuring that alcohol isn't sold to anyone under the age of 19 or someone who is intoxicated.

Sales of alcohol can only take place between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. Third party delivery services are allowed to delivery alcohol, but must have Smart Serve certification.

In Ontario, restaurants are on the list of essential services and are allowed to stay open so long as they only provide takeout or delivery food options.

Desi Fatkin, the co-owner of Duke of Wellington in uptown Waterloo, says the move will give them and others a fighting chance, but it'll still be a struggle to stay afloat.

"This business and a lot of the businesses here [in uptown Waterloo] are on the edge of recovery from the LRT construction," she said. "This was going to be our year to get through it and get back on our feet and be in the position we were in before that happened, but unfortunately that's not meant to be."

Giving alcohol takeout a green light is one of a number of measures the organization announced on March 26.

Grocery stores and liquor manufacturers with retail stores can begin selling alcohol earlier, from 7 a.m. This is to coincide with extended grocery hours for vulnerable populations, and to provide greater flexibility.

The AGCO also extended the term of all active liquor, gaming and cannabis licenses in the province by three months at no extra cost.

Horseracing licenses, including those that expired in the last six months, will also be extended for a year.