Richmond Times Dispatch, Colleen Curran - 4/5/22
To-go cocktails and alcohol delivery have been extended for another two years in Virginia.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin has signed two bills, House Bill 426 and Senate Bill 254, sponsored by Del. David Bulova, D-Fairfax, and Sen. John Bell, D-Loudoun, extending the alcohol delivery and to-go cocktail policies put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Delivery and curbside pickup sales were both critical sources of income during most of 2020 and early 2021,” Tom Sullivan, co-owner of Ardent Craft Ales, 3200 W. Leigh St. in Scott’s Addition, said.
The emergency legislation, signed by then-Gov. Ralph Northam during COVID-19, created a lifeline for Ardent and many other restaurants to stay afloat when their doors were shuttered and business plummeted during the early months of the pandemic.
The legislation was set to expire July 1, but the new legislation will extend until July 1, 2024.
“Virginia’s bars and restaurants can rest a bit easier knowing cocktails to-go are here to stay for another two years,” David Wojnar, senior vice president and head of state public policy for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, said in a statement.
“This revenue-generating measure has provided much-needed support for local hospitality businesses and increased convenience for Virginia’s consumers.”
Mike Lindsey offers to-go cocktails and beer at his downtown Richmond restaurants Lillie Pearl, 416 E. Grace St., and Pop’s Market, 415 E. Grace St.
“It gives restaurants some great flexibility in creating sales and as an added guest experience,” Lindsey said. “The demand has gone down a bit since so many people are dining in, but it still creates a great experience for to-go dining.” He also said that offering to-go drinks during the pandemic was an enormous economic help for his business.
The new legislation includes several requirements to ensure safety for to-go cocktails. For example, alcoholic beverages must:
Bulova, who sponsored House Bill 426, said that he was a bit skeptical of continuing to-go cocktails, but discovered that “a lot of my constituents really enjoyed being able to get cocktails-to-go and quite frankly, it continued to help our restaurants.”
“The hospitality industry has suffered greatly since the start of the pandemic, and we want to ensure that the restaurants we love will still be here for years to come,” Bell added.
A stakeholder group came up with the recommendations for how to continue to-go alcoholic beverages in a safe manner for another two years.
“Demand has definitely waned [for delivery] since the peak before vaccines were available,” Ardent’s Sullivan said. “We still offer delivery one day a week and have a group of loyal customers who still love the service.”
During the pandemic, more than 35 states began allowing restaurants and bars to sell cocktails to-go as an economic relief measure.
Since then, 18 states — including West Virginia and Florida, and the District of Columbia — enacted laws to permanently allow cocktails to-go, while 12 others such as California, Colorado and Virginia enacted laws that allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis.
By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution of Virginia in the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is hereby officially recognized:
ALCOHOL AWARENESS MONTH
WHEREAS, a recent Virginia Youth Survey found that more than 15 percent of Virginia students reported having their first full drink of alcohol before age 13 and more than 25 percent of Virginia high school students had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more of the past 30 days; and,
WHEREAS, more than 15 percent of adults in Virginia binge drink according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and,
WHEREAS, last year there were 6,259 alcohol related crashes resulting in 3,908 injuries and 239 fatalities in Virginia according to preliminary data; and,
WHEREAS, alcohol consumption has increased nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic; and,
WHEREAS, in Virginia we must increase awareness of issues related to alcohol and promote public safety through the responsible sale and regulation of alcoholic beverages and provide resources for individuals and organizations to reduce underage and high-risk drinking; and,
WHEREAS, alcohol education and prevention programming can help communities, families and friends support the development of a healthy relationship with alcohol; and,
WHEREAS, Alcohol Awareness Month is a national observance held every April to increase public awareness and understanding about the dangers associated with alcohol consumption, which is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Glenn Youngkin, do hereby recognize April 2022 as ALCOHOL AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of our citizens.
The Daily Press - Jessica Nolte
Virginia’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority announced Sunday morning that it was removing seven Russian-sourced vodka brands from its shelves.
The state-run liquor store system attributed the decision to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s call on Saturday for the state to take “decisive action” in support of Ukraine.
Sen. Louise Lucas also tweeted Saturday morning, calling on Youngkin to order the removal of all Russian products from the ABC stores.
The vodka brands to be removed include Beluga, Hammer & Sickle, Imperia, Mamont, Organika, Russian Standard and ZYR.
The stores will not be removing products such as Stolichnaya and Smirnoff, which are Russian-themed but not produced in Russia. Smirnoff is owned by Diageo, which is based in London, and is manufactured in Illinois.
Virginia ABC said in a Facebook post it would be reviewing its other products to determine whether they have origins in Russia.
Leaders in Ohio, Utah and New Hampshire have made similar calls for liquor stores to remove the products, according to a report from CNN.
The report said the move is largely symbolic since less than 1% of vodka consumed in the United States is produced in Russia.
Youngkin has also ordered the state’s Department of General Services to review state procurement of goods and services involving Russian companies.
The governor also called for Norfolk and Roanoke to end their sister city partnerships with Russian cities.
Jessica Nolte, 757-912-1675, firstname.lastname@example.org
Beginning Tuesday, March 1, all 396 Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) stores will return to normal operating hours. All stores will open by 10 a.m. every day, apart from some stores which regularly open later on Sundays. Store closing times, which were not part of the month-long adjustment, will remain the same. Closing times vary by store.
“With COVID-19 case numbers once again falling in Virginia, we are now able to return to our normal operating hours,” said Travis Hill, chief executive officer of Virginia ABC. “We truly appreciate our retail team’s dedication and flexibility throughout this pandemic, and we look forward to serving our customers with expanded hours soon.”
All ABC stores have been observing reduced hours since Jan. 24, opening daily at noon in response to increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases making staffing difficult.
As an alternative to in-store shopping, customers can place orders online at www.abc.virginia.gov for curbside pickup or home delivery in nearly all areas of the commonwealth.
ABC continues to monitor information regarding COVID-19. Future decisions related to ABC store operations will be made based on the best information available to ABC and implemented on a case-by-case basis.
News Release Contact:- Virginia ABC Communications - (804) 213-4413
by: Dean Mirshahi
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginians will be allowed to get cocktails to-go and alcoholic drinks delivered to them until 2024 after the General Assembly passed a bill that one lawmaker called a “lifeline” to small businesses.
The bill, introduced by Del. David Bulova (D-Fairfax), creates a third-party license that allows the holder to deliver alcoholic beverages bought from businesses with licenses from the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority. The legislation received bipartisan support in the legislature and will now go to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s desk.
Last year, Del. Bulova’s House Bill 1879 allowed takeout and delivery of beverages until July 2022. The new legislation from Bulova during this session extends the sunset on the legislation until July 2024.
Cocktails to-go extended in Virginia until July 2022Bulova’s bill makes way for the third-party delivery license and has provisions establishing container and training requirements.
State Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Fairfax) said before Tuesday’s 37-3 vote that the bill came after the Virginia ABC studied the issue and shared a report with lawmakers, a directive that was included in the 2021 legislation.
The new measure from Bulova also directs the Virginia ABC “to collect data regarding the compliance of third-party delivery licensees with the provisions of the bill.” The Virginia ABC will have to report the data to lawmakers by Nov. 1, 2023.
New law going into effect keeps to-go alcohol available in VirginiaState Sen. John Bell (D-Loudoun) introduced an identical bill in the Virginia Senate, which passed on a bipartisan vote. Sen. Bell said Tuesday that he worked with Del. Bulova on the legislation and asked senators to pass the measure because it’s a “lifeline to many small businesses.”
Former Gov. Ralph Northam granted restaurants the authority to sell cocktails to-go during the pandemic after business owners expressed concerns over revenue loss.
“Not only does this measure provide increased convenience for consumers, but it also gives bars and restaurants a stable source of revenue as they work to recover from the pandemic,” David Wojnar, senior vice president and head of state public policy for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, said in a statement Tuesday.