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Mayor hopes 'to-go' cocktails can help Richmond restaurants

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Posted at 5:03 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 17:04:16-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has asked Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to ease state alcohol restrictions and allow restaurants to sell mixed drinks either to-go or through delivery.

Recently, state alcohol rules were eased to allow restaurants to sell to-go wine and beer as a way to help make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis.

"Other states have done this with safety restrictions - lids on, no selling after 11 p.m.," Mayor Stoney posted on social media. "Restaurants are a HUGE reason Richmond thrives. We must do everything we can to support and empower them."

Richmond chef and restaurant owner Lee Gregory addressed the issue earlier Friday in an interview with Eat It, Virginia podcast host Robey Martin.

"Both of our restaurant models [Alewife and Southbound] are to try to over produce on food or, you know, give a lot of value on the ingredients and stuff that we use. And maybe we don't make the proper cost compared to other restaurants. But we win on beer, liquor, and wine, right? And that's the missing thing. We can sell to-go food all night and hopefully, that makes us raise enough money that we can pay some folks, get some tips, have some servers, and they're getting a little bit of cash. And maybe, maybe we can pay our rent and bills and credit card bills and stuff like that," Gregory said. "But without the alcohol component, it really starts to hurt."

When ordering to-go food, Gregory implored fans of Richmond restaurants to get wine or beer too.

"That's where we're really trying to make enough money to actually continue to do this or to be able to fully reopen when it comes down to it," he said. "Every little they loosen up, absolutely helps."

Restaurants around the country are losing money after dining rooms were shutdown to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Click here to see a list of Richmond-area restaurants that are continuing to serve the community through to-go order or delivery.