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.