LEAD NEWS: VLRTA Policy & Economic Relief Requests to the Governor
VRLTA has been in contact with the Governor’s office regarding several major bills from this past session and the impact they will have for our industry. Those measures include minimum wage, equalization of taxing authority between cities and counties, and the regional transportation plans that impose lodging taxes in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

In addition, we have placed an economic relief request with the Governor. In it, we have asked for several measures that would assist the hospitality industry including addressing coverage for business interruption insurance to regarding COVID-19 related losses, full unemployment insurance coverage of an employee’s full wages including tips and commissions, tax relief, emergency grants to hospitality businesses, etc. 
ABC Information - Wine & Beer To Go

The Virginia ABC Authority now will allow all ABC licensed retailers, with either on-premises or off-premises privileges, to sell wine and beer to-go. Off premises sales may only be sold for off-premises consumption in any container upon which the original closure has not been broken, except for a growler. A “growler” is defined as a re-sealable containers approved by the board.

Virginia ABC licensed retailers may continue to sell alcoholic beverages to patrons in the establishment so long as they don’t exceed the 10 patron limit. The ABC licensed retailers may also sell alcoholic beverages to those individuals who are waiting for a carryout order.

In addition, all ABC licensed retailers with either on-premises or off-premises privileges may deliver wine and beer to consumers away from the licensed premises under the following guidelines without first requiring the retailer to obtain a Delivery Permit:

  1. All such deliveries of beer, wine, or farm wine shall be performed by either (1) an employee or agent of the retailer (2) an independent contractor of the retailer, provided that (A) the retailer has entered into a written agreement with the independent contractor establishing that the retailer shall be vicariously liable for any administrative violations of the ABC Act committed by the independent contractor relating to any deliveries of beer or wine made on behalf of the retailer and (B) only one individual takes possession of the beer or wine during the course of delivery.
  2. Deliveries may be made to consumers forgoing the requirement to get the recipients signature when making a delivery. Provided that whoever is making the delivery denotes on electronic or paper form the legible full name of the individual that is receiving the delivery as well as the method of verification for documenting that the recipient was at least 21 years of age as the retailer has sole responsibility of verifying that the recipient is at least 21 years of age pursuant to 3VAC5-50-20.
  3. Delivery shall be refused when the proposed recipient appears to be under the age of 21 years and refused to prevent valid identification.
  4. All retailers delivering wine and beer pursuant to this section shall affix a conspicuous notice in 16-point type or larger on the outside of each package of wine or beer delivered in the Commonwealth, in a conspicuous location stating: “CONTAINS ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES; SIGNATURE OF PERSON AGED 21 YEARS OR OLDER REQUIRED FOR DELIVERY.” Such notice shall also contain the license number of the delivering retailer.
  5. No more than four cases of wine or note than four cases of beer may be delivered at one time to any person in Virginia, except that the retailer may deliver more than four cases of wine or more than four cases of beer if he notifies the Virginia ABC Authority in writing at least one business day in advance of any such delivery, which notice contains the name and address of the intended recipient.

You may also check the Virginia ABC Authority COVID-19 portion of their website which is updated daily: https://www.abc.virginia.gov/covid-19
10 Person Rule to be examined in two weeks

According to reports , the Governor’s 10 person rule at public establishments is going to be examined again in two weeks. We have reached out to the Governor’s office for confirmation. That being said, it’s critical that businesses continue to follow the Governor’s order limiting the number of patrons at an restaurant to 10 individuals. The Governor also spoke to this issue during the press meeting today: https://www.facebook.com/GovernorVA/videos/2270775903231859/  
Federal Update
This morning, VRLTA and several members spoke with Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine. During the call with the Senator we shared our concerns regarding the devastating economic hit that the hospitality and travel industry in Virginia is taking during the COVID-19 outbreak. We also asked him support economic relief efforts to aid VRLTA members and the hospitality and travel industry overall and referenced the current requests from the National Restaurant Association and American Hotel and Lodging Association.

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, has also submitted his own proposal in response to COVID-19. You can see a summary of that legislation here.
Sales Tax Deferral
Today, Governor Ralph Northam and Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne announced that they would grant an extension for sales tax for February filings from March 20 th to April 20 th . The requests will be liberally granted, and considered upon written request for an extension from businesses. Interest initially will be charged (because it is required by law), but the administration has indicated they will seek a waiver during the reconvened session. Restaurants, hotels, and attractions should visit the Virginia Department of Taxation website for bulletin here .

In addition, they announced they will extend filing deadlines for personal and corporate income tax returns from May 1 st to June 1 st . No late penalty so long as the filing is made by June 1 st
Continue to visit https://www.virginiaisforrestaurantlovers.com for more information about the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on the tourism and hospitality industries. We are working to add additional resources, links, and news articles as they become available.