Youngkin signs bill extending cocktails to-go through July 2024

Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 9:45 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 5, 2022 at 6:53 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Glenn Youngkin signed a bill on Monday that extends cocktails to-go through July 2024.

The bill supports hospitality businesses struggling to rebound following the pandemic.

Restaurants and bars in Scotts Addition say these to-go drinks have boosted their bottom lines, and they’re hoping this extension will turn into something more permanent.

“Any innovation and growth, and anything that’s going to help restaurants in the area be able to supply more to customers - that’s a good thing,” Wood and Iron Gameday Bar Manager Chris Ryan said.

After a less than ideal 2020, Ryan says to-go mixed drinks provided much-needed relief.

“We had to push as much product as possible at that time just to survive,” he said. “It probably kept some restaurants in business, honestly.”

He says even as COVID-19 cases drop, many customers can benefit from cocktails to-go.

“Some people might still be immunocompromised...they might not be able to come into the restaurant all the time, and they still want to enjoy our food and drinks, and now they can do so in the comfort of their own home,” Ryan said.

Tazza Kitchen manager Patrick Gillis echoed the praise for the extension.

“I think a lot of the best sides of the industry that came through the pandemic, in large part due to this measure, so I think we should continue on with it,” he said.

Both Gillis and Ryan hope it becomes permanent.

“Hopefully, in the next two years, they’ll say, alright, let’s run with it indeterminately because I haven’t seen any downsides from it,” Gillis said.

Gillis thinks this can only help Richmond restaurants thrive.

“Restaurants are one of Richmond’s biggest strengths right now, and it’s one of the biggest draws,” he said. “I think just sort of letting them go and do their thing is the best thing that they could do.”

“Virginia’s bars and restaurants can rest a bit easier knowing cocktails to-go are here to stay for another two years,” said David Wojnar, senior vice president and head of state public policy for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, in a release. “This revenue-generating measure has provided much-needed support for local hospitality businesses and increased convenience for Virginia’s consumers. We thank Governor Youngkin and the legislature for extending cocktails to-go.”

During the pandemic, 35 states started allowing restaurants and bars to sell cocktails to-go to help with the economic impacts the pandemic was having on the industry.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to make cocktails to-go permanent, and 12 other states passed legislation for them to continue temporarily.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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