March 31, 2020
Will ABC stores close?
We recognize the role our stores play in providing products to our customers and licensed businesses. We also recognize the role we play in providing needed income for our employees. The health and well-being of our valued customers and employees is our priority.
Recognizing the gravity of COVID-19 and the expanding nature of the virus, we’ve decided to reduce our store operating hours across the commonwealth. As of Friday, March 27, all ABC stores will be open noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.
Store 182 located at 1217 West Broad Street in downtown Richmond will reopen Friday, April 3 following closure March 19 after the roommate of an employee tested positive for COVID-19. The employee has remained at home in quarantine. Virginia ABC Human Resources has been in contact with the other employees from this store and, after more than 14 days since the employee last worked at the store, none are reporting symptoms of the virus.
Store 278 located at 3333 Virginia Beach Blvd. in Virginia Beach will reopen on Wednesday, April 1 following closure March 26 after confirmation that a sales associate had tested positive for COVID-19. The COVID-19 positive employee last worked in the store March 14 and had not returned to work upon feeling ill. Virginia ABC Human Resources has been in contact with the other employees from this store and, after more than 14 days since the employee last worked at the store, none are reporting symptoms of the virus.
Virginia ABC is in close communication with the Northam administration, which is taking guidance from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), regarding our operations in the midst of the COVID-19 response. As the sole retailer of distilled spirits in Virginia, we are dedicated to filling our role in providing product to our licensees and the public. We will work to fulfill this responsibility in a manner that is safe for our employees and customers, considering various approaches in how our stores operate. Unlike DMV offices, our stores are not areas where individuals gather for extended periods of time or in close proximity to one another. However, customers must aid in following Governor Northam’s recommendation to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and limit visits to ABC stores.
Customers can practice social distancing and reduce time spent in stores by placing their order online at www.abc.virginia.gov. ABC recommends customers call ahead to ensure adequate staffing is available at the store prior to attempting to pick up curbside. This promotes less contact and goes towards the health and safety of employees and customers alike.
In the event we determine it is necessary to close our stores, we will do so in consultation with the Northam administration. ABC has procedures in place to temporarily close individual stores if employee absences prevent us from properly staffing a store. Regional managers will make the decision to close a store on a case-by-case basis. Employees at the closed store will be temporarily relocated to nearby stores until staff at the closed store are able to return to work. Customers should call their local store to confirm it is open. If there is no answer, that store is closed.
Will ABC’s central office or regional enforcement offices close?
At this time, our Richmond central office and nine of our 10 regional enforcement offices remain open, and our warehouse continues to accept and receive shipments. The Hampton regional enforcement office at 4907 W. Mercury Boulevard is closed until further notice. Anyone with pending business at this office should call (757) 825-7830 during normal business hours (8:15 a.m.–5 p.m.) or email email@example.com. If employee absences prevent us from properly staffing these areas, we may temporarily close some regional offices. These decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Are ABC’s retail stores following any procedures to protect customers from the coronavirus?
The cleanliness and safe operation of our stores remain a priority, particularly during this pandemic. In addition to our daily cleaning efforts in our stores, we’re increasing the time spent cleaning and sanitizing. Current evidence from the CDC suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. As a result, we are focusing attention on our most frequented areas such as checkout counters and bathrooms, and high-touch surfaces such as door handles and knobs. In addition, we’ve placed hand sanitizer at all registers for customer and employee use. Finally, all stores are limiting the number of customers in the store at one time to no more than 10 to encourage social distancing. Stores have also installed social distancing markers to ensure customers stand at least six feet apart from one another. We want customers to feel comfortable shopping in our stores and employees to feel safe coming to work.
Will there be any delays or changes to regulations that will affect current licensees or license applicants?
We understand that this pandemic will greatly affect our licensed establishments and the service industry as a whole. We are doing what we can to provide guidance and relief from regulatory challenges where possible. Licensees are encouraged to check ABC’s COVID-19 page for current information about modified regulations that will go into effect as a result of COVID-19. This information will be updated as modifications are added. Individuals and businesses applying for banquet licenses are strongly encouraged to complete the application online to expedite timely processing.
Will there be any delays or changes to ABC violation hearings?
Scheduled informal conferences for licensees with violations will take place as scheduled via teleconference, but hearings will be postponed. All application hearings that are currently scheduled will occur.
Will ABC cancel on-site RSVP and MART trainings for licensees?
Yes, we have cancelled on-site RSVP and MART trainings until further notice. However, we continue to offer both these courses free of charge online. Licensees interested in signing up for online training may do so at www.abc.virginia.gov/licenses/training.
Will ABC stores still hold tasting events or grand opening events?
In the interest of the health and safety of our employees and customers, Virginia ABC has temporarily suspended grand opening events at new and relocated stores for the foreseeable future. All in-store tasting events have been cancelled immediately and indefinitely.
Will there be shortages of products in ABC stores?
We understand some suppliers may not be able to meet demands during the pandemic, but at this time, we are not anticipating shortages of products in ABC stores. Any updates will be posted to this page.
I am concerned about picking up an online order or lottery bottle, what should I do?
If you recently made an online order or won the opportunity to purchase a lottery bottle that is ready for pick-up and are concerned about coming to the store, please contact your store to coordinate alternatives.