Cocktails-to-go aim to stir-up business for Va. restaurants shaken by coronavirus

Friday night happy hours in bars and restaurants are on hold, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but Virginia has given the temporary OK to restaurants and distilleries to serve cocktails-to-go — with restrictions.

Under the COVID-19 restrictions, distilleries can sell two mixed drinks per delivery or takeout order, with a maximum of 1.5 ounces of alcohol — a standard ‘shot’ — per drink.

Previously, distilleries and vineyards were granted the ability to deliver bottles of liquor.

Restaurants with a liquor license are able to offer four mixed drinks per takeout or delivery order.

Each order for delivery or takeout order must include one meal for every two cocktails purchased.

But there are restrictions to how the alcohol can be packaged, according to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, often referred to as the ABC.

No ‘sippy cups’ are allowed: “Cocktails shall be packaged in a glass, paper or plastic container (or similar disposable container) or in a single original metal can with a secure-lid or cap designed to prevent consumption without removal of the lid or cap (lids with sipping holes or openings for straws are prohibited),” according to the ABC.

Alcohol sales, which remain restricted to customers who are at least 21 years old, are only permitted until 11 p.m.


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In addition, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that ABC license renewal fees for restaurants would be deferred by 90 days past the original expiration date, for licenses expiring in March through June.

“These deferrals will allow businesses to continue to operate without concern over choosing between keeping an employee or renewing a license,” said ABC CEO Travis Hill, on the agency’s website.

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