Restaurants, bars, and distilleries that have been able to sell cocktails to-go since the pandemic may be able to continue the practice indefinitely, thanks to new legislation that passed the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 23 states plus Washington, DC, have made it permanently legal to sell cocktails to-go, and another nine (including Virginia) allow it on a temporary basis.
The Virginia law that currently allows cocktails to be served to-go in the commonwealth contains a sunset clause and would expire on July 1, 2024.
However, companion bills SB 635 and HB 688 would undo the sunset clause and allow mixed drinks to be sold and delivered for off-premises consumption indefinitely. The bills passed the Senate unanimously and the House of Delegates 81-18, respectively.
The bills will need to be signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin to become law.
Third-party delivery services, such as DoorDash and Uber Eats, also would be allowed to continue to deliver alcoholic beverages through at least July 1, 2026. This is with the provision that the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority convenes a work group to review third-party delivery licenses and report its findings to the House and Senate by November 2024.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association expressed support for this change.
“Local bars, restaurants and distilleries continue to face headwinds with inflation, supply chain disruptions and staffing shortages,” said Andy Deloney, senior vice president and head of state public policy at DISCUS. “Cocktails to-go offer a stable and important source of revenue for Virginia businesses while providing increased convenience for consumers.”
Feature image, stock.adobe.com
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