Local bars look forward to extended alcohol curfew

Local bars look forward to extended alcohol curfew

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In just a few days, new COVID-19 restrictions will be taking effect in Virginia. Gov. Ralph Northam is loosening guidelines as virus cases fall and vaccinations rise.

Since November, Virginia restaurants and bars have had to cut off booze sales at 10 p.m.

For some businesses, this may not have had a huge impact. However, for others like Tang & Biscuit in Richmond, closing early makes a difference, said Director of Operations Carrie Dudley.

“Unfortunately, what happens is 9:30 hits, you do last call and you see your business dwindle away very quickly,” she said.

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Dudley explained how the social club sees a lot of business at night.

“A lot of our demographic is younger and they’re ready to go out at night, so having to end alcohol sales at 10 p.m. definitely limited our revenue stream which we’re trying to keep flowing right now,” Dudley told 8News.

On Wednesday, Northam announced that starting March 1, the alcohol cutoff will be extended to midnight as COVID cases fall and vaccinations rise.

Two more hours of alcohol sales and consumption may not seem like much, but Jeremy Nichols, assistant general manager of Wood and Iron said it is huge for their business.

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“It’s a big block of revenue that we’ve been missing for a while and we’re glad to get it back. Honestly, first and foremost, we’re just glad that the cases are down in Virginia so that we can do this because that’s the most important thing,” said Nichols.

Also starting Monday, the modified ‘stay-at-home’ order currently in place between midnight and 5 a.m. will be lifted, outdoor social gatherings will now be capped at 25 people rather than 10 people and outdoor entertainment venues can operate at 30 percent capacity, with a cap at 1,000 people.

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For businesses like Tang & Biscuit and Wood and Iron they are looking forward to next week. “It’s good for people who work here, all the servers, all the bartenders are looking forward to it. They’ve been missing it,” Nichols said.

The changes will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday and they will remain in place for at least one month.

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