‘It’s about 10-12% of our weekly sales’: Restaurants prepare for new restrictions

Updated: Nov. 15, 2020 at 4:32 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - New COVID-19 restrictions will take effect in Virginia on Sunday night, and they include big changes for restaurants and bars.

Starting at midnight tonight, bars and restaurants must stop on-site alcohol sales at 10 p.m. and close by midnight. It’s a big change for restaurants who have already taken a hit.

“We generally close at 10 o’clock on the weekdays on the weekends will stay open until 11, maybe 12 if there’s a game on. That 10 to 11 hour is very, very important for us on Friday and Saturday and Sunday nights,” said Mark Overby, owner, Home Team Grill in the Fan District.

But with the changes, they’re expecting some loss.

“We are going to lose all of our late football traffic. I would guess it’s about 10 to 12% of our weekly sales,” said Overby.

Overby says their sales are already down by about 50%, they will now add that 10% more.

“It’s a lot of food and it’s a lot of alcohol sales, mostly food, honestly we find that because there’s not many places that are open, a lot of people are just used to eating dinner late at night will come visit us on Friday or Saturday night at 10 o’clock and try to get a cheeseburger,” he said.

Now, the restaurant is deciding how they should handle hours. Should they stay open after 10 p.m., even though they can’t serve alcohol or should they close?

“Starting next week we’re going to close at 10 o’clock, have last call at 9:45, and have everybody out at 10. For the weekend, we’re still contemplating whether we’re going to stop alcohol sales at 10 p.m. and still sell to go food and dine in food until 11.”

It will be a misdemeanor criminal offense by any establishment not abiding by these rules. As we’ve seen in the past, inspectors have pulled business' operating licenses for not following the guidelines.

New COVID-19 restrictions also include an expanded mask mandate, which now includes children ages five and up instead of 10. There is also a limit of 25 individuals for in-person gatherings. For additional information about updated restrictions in Virginia, click here.

Full text of the order can be found here.

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