Richmond Times Dispatch, Colleen Curran - January 21st, 2022
Starting Monday, all Virginia ABC stores will start opening at noon due to COVID-19 and staffing issues. The change will affect all 395 ABC stores in Virginia.
The change in hours is due to COVID-19 affecting retail staff either through exposures or the need to quarantine.
“Like other retailers affected by pandemic-related staffing shortages, we are modifying our store hours to reduce the need to close stores because of employee quarantines,” CEO Travis Hill said in a statement. “Opening at noon meets the needs of the majority of our customers, most of whom prefer to shop in the afternoon.”
Store closing times will remain the same.
All store employees are required to wear face masks. Customers are encouraged to also wear face masks when shopping in an ABC store.
Customers can also place orders online at www.abc.virginia.gov for curbside pickup or home delivery.
As for how long the change will last, ABC said, “Future decisions related to ABC store operations will be made with guidance from these official sources and implemented on a case-by-case basis.”
Restaurant Industry Financial Security in Danger of Being Wiped Out by Delta Variant
August 24, 2021 - National Restaurant Association
Today, the National Restaurant Association and its state restaurant association partners sent a letter to Congressional leadership, sharing concerning new consumer confidence survey findings and urging swift replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF).
The survey found that a majority of consumers have already changed their dining behavior, which is beginning to put acute pressure back on the restaurant industry. This faltering consumer confidence comes on top of food and labor costs that are increasing at their fastest pace in several years, continued indoor capacity limits in 11 states, and crushing long-term debt loads for countless restaurant owners.
Specifically, the survey found:
"For an industry that requires a 'full house' every evening to make a profit, this is a dangerous trend," said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association. "These changes indicate declining consumer confidence that will make it more difficult for most restaurant owners to maintain their delicate financial stability."
The letter urges Congress to complete the mission of the RRF and provide adequate funds to replenish the program and offer relief for the applications still pending.
"The rise of coronavirus variants like delta threaten to push these restaurants closer to permanently closing their doors," added Kennedy. "The RRF has proven its effectiveness in every state, saving restaurants, workers, and the suppliers who depend on their business. The small gains that our industry has made toward financial security are in danger of being wiped out, dashing the hopes of communities, entrepreneurs, and consumers nationwide."
177,000 RRF applications that totaled $43.6 billion in grants are still pending.
While the first half of 2021 showed positive gains for the industry, there is still a long road ahead, especially for full-service restaurants facing the greatest threat from new government restrictions in response to the delta variant.
Read the full letter.
Source: Virginia Business by BETH JOJACK
Officials with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority announced Tuesday that all ABC stores will return to pre-pandemic operating hours on Friday.
For more than a year, Virginia’s ABC stores have operated at reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials decided to limit hours the stores were open to allow time for staff to thoroughly disinfect store surfaces and to allow flexibility in staffing.
All stores will open by 10 a.m. each day, except for some stores that regularly open later on Sundays. Closing times vary at the state’s 393 ABC stores.
“With COVID-19 case numbers falling in Virginia and vaccinations increasing, we feel it is now safe to return to our normal operating hours,” CEO Travis Hill said in a statement. “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.”
The stores will continue to follow safety measures recommended for retailers by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those include: requiring customers and employees to wear face masks, floor markers to ensure customers stand at least six feet apart and hand sanitizer pumps placed at registers for customer and employee use. Curbside pickup and home delivery are also available at most stores.
In fiscal year 2020, Virginia ABC hit a record in gross revenue, reporting $1.2 billion, including $212.1 million in profits from retail sales.