Take-out cocktails and alcohol delivery in Virginia approved for two more years | Local business news

Take-out cocktails and liquor delivery have been extended for two years in Virginia.

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed two bills, House Bill 426 and Senate Bill 254, sponsored by Del. David Bulova, D-Fairfax, and Sen. John Bell, D-Loudoun, extending take-out liquor and cocktail delivery policies put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Delivery and curbside pickup sales have been critical revenue streams for most of 2020 and into 2021,” said Tom Sullivan, co-owner of Ardent Craft Ales, 3200 W. Leigh St. at Scott’s Addition.

Emergency legislation, signed by the government at the time. Ralph Northam during COVID-19, created a lifeline for Ardent and many other restaurants to stay afloat when their doors were closed and business plummeted in the early months of the pandemic.

The legislation was due to expire on July 1, but the new legislation will run until July 1, 2024.

“Virginia’s bars and restaurants can rest a little easier knowing that on-the-go cocktails are here to stay for another two years,” said David Wojnar, senior vice president and chief public policy officer for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. United States. declaration.

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“This revenue-generating measure has provided much-needed support to local hotel businesses and increased convenience for Virginia consumers.”

Mike Lindsey offers cocktails and beer to go at his downtown Richmond restaurants, Lillie Pearl, 416 E. Grace St., and Pop’s Market, 415 E. Grace St.

“It gives restaurants great flexibility in creating sales and as an additional customer experience,” Lindsey said. “Demand has dropped off a bit since so many people are dining out, but it still creates a great experience for on-the-go dining.” He also said offering take-out drinks during the pandemic was a huge economic help for his business.

The new legislation includes several requirements to ensure the safety of on-the-go cocktails. For example, alcoholic beverages must:

  • Being enclosed in a container that has no straw holes or other openings
  • Display the name of the licensee from whom the alcoholic beverages were purchased
  • Be clearly identified by the phrase “contains alcoholic beverages”
  • Have a maximum volume of 16 ounces per drink
  • Be stowed in the trunk of the vehicle or in an area behind the driver’s seat, in a locked container or compartment.

Bulova, who sponsored House Bill 426, said he was a bit skeptical about the continuation of to-go cocktails, but found that “a lot of my constituents really appreciated being able to get to-go cocktails and, very frankly, it has continued to help our restaurants.

“The hospitality industry has been through a lot since the pandemic began, and we want to make sure the restaurants we love will still be around for years to come,” Bell added.

A group of stakeholders have made recommendations on how to continue drinking alcoholic beverages safely for another two years.

“Demand has definitely gone down [for delivery] since the peak before vaccines became available,” said Sullivan of Ardent. “We still offer delivery one day a week and have a loyal group of customers who still love the service.”

During the pandemic, more than 35 states began allowing restaurants and bars to sell take-out cocktails as an economic relief measure.

Since then, 18 states – including West Virginia and Florida, as well as the District of Columbia – have enacted laws permanently allowing take-out cocktails, while 12 others, such as California, Colorado and Virginia, have enacted laws allowing take-out cocktails on a temporary basis. .

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