RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Ralph Northam announced he will allow restaurants and distilleries to sell mixed drinks for takeout or delivery starting Friday.
"All Virginia restaurants that remain open are now take out or delivery only," Northam said during a news briefing Wednesday. "Allowing them to sell mixed beverages with takeout or delivery orders, will help them augment the revenue streams so they can continue to operate and employ Virginians."
Northam: I've also ordered ABC to allow restaurants with mixed drink licenses to include those in take out. Effective midnight on Thursday.— Cam Thompson (@CamThompsonCBS6) April 8, 2020
Northam also said the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) will defer annual fees for licenses and permits up for renewal renewal through June.
"We also continue to work on ways to ease pressures on businesses such as our restaurants," Northam said.
Northam said the move aims to help abut 6,000 establishments with ABC licenses.
"If we didn't do this, some businesses that are closed would be in the position of paying a fee for a license that they can't use or losing their license," Northam said.
Last month, the Virginia ABC has changed its rules to let restaurants deliver alcohol or sell it curbside without having a special permit to do so in response to restaurants closing their dining rooms in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Read more about the rule changes with the way alcohol can be served in Virginia here.
Why Virginia ABC stores are considered essential
Virginia officials explained why the state's ABC stores are classified as an essential business during the COVID-19 crisis .during a news briefing on the coronavirus pandemic last month.
"They are essential under the existing Emergency Operations Plan," Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran said.
Additionally, Moran said that social distancing is being practiced in the stores since no more than 10 customers are permitted in a location at one time.
"Really, we're able to achieve social distancing in the ABC store environment," Moran said.
Virginia ABC stores changed their hours last month to be nbe open from noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week.
“Given the expanding nature of the coronavirus to other areas of the commonwealth, after consulting with the Virginia Department of Health, we believe these adjustments to our business practices will reinforce measures already in place to keep everyone safe and mitigate the impact of this virus on our employees and customers,” Virginia ABC Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill said last month.