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Virginia ABC > COVID-19

COVID-19

A Message to Our Customers and Industry Partners

May 29, 2020

As we move into Phase 1 of Virginia’s reopening plan, I want to update our customers and stakeholders on how Virginia ABC plans to continue offering a clean, safe shopping experience.

ABC introduced curbside service in select stores on April 29, adding more stores each week. Today, 96% of our 388 stores offer this service (18 stores are unable to offer curbside pickup because of limited available parking). Since the service began, more than 40% of online customers have opted for curbside pickup. We plan to continue offering this service well after the need for social distancing has subsided as a convenience to our customers.

With the sustained popularity and high demand for select whiskies, many of these products are in short supply. In order to make these available to as many customers as possible, Virginia ABC is now limiting the purchase of these items to one bottle per customer or license number per day. These products are available for purchase in-store only. They are not available via online ordering. A list of these products is available on our Limited Availability page.

For customers who choose to make in-store purchases of these and other products, Virginia ABC stores continue to offer a safe environment for shopping. We’ve installed Plexiglas shields at registers and placed social distancing markers on our floors. We’ve placed hand sanitizer at registers for customer and employee use. We’ve mandated the use of face masks by store employees and enhanced our daily cleaning and sanitizing efforts. You can get a full picture of our safety preparedness measures in our response document. But we also are asking for your cooperation.

For the health and safety of our employees and others, customers are now required to wear a mask or face covering in order to shop in an ABC store. If you arrive at the store and do not have a mask or face covering, we encourage you to visit our website and utilize the curbside pickup option mentioned earlier.

For now, ABC stores continue to operate at a reduced schedule – from noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week. Many stores are providing modified counter service where customers stand at a safe distance from others at the front of the store while ABC employees retrieve products at their request. We will continue these measures throughout Phase 1 and will evaluate as the situation changes.

Be healthy,

Travis Hill, CEO 

Previous Messages

Customer FAQs

As of May 29, 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 have reduced store operating hours across the commonwealth. As of March 27, all ABC stores are open noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.

We have also implemented a protocol for facility closures due to COVID-19, based on guidance from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We will follow this protocol going forward. Virginia ABC store closures due to COVID-19 are listed on a separate page on Virginia ABC’s website. This list will be updated as this new information becomes available. If a store has a reopening date set, that date will be posted as well. This initiative will keep all relevant information in one place for easy understanding of which stores are open and which are closed.

Virginia ABC is in close communication with the Northam administration, which is taking guidance from the VDH and the 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.

Customers can practice social distancing and reduce time spent in stores by placing their order online at www.abc.virginia.gov. ABC now offers a curbside pickup service at 370 of our 388 stores across the state (18 stores will not offer the service due to limited parking). To find out if your local store offers curbside pickup, check their store page on our website.

Will ABC’s central office or regional enforcement offices close?
At this time, our Richmond central office and eight of our 10 regional enforcement offices remain open, and our warehouse continues to accept and receive shipments. In keeping with the decision of local governments to close their offices, the Virginia ABC will temporarily close its Northern Virginia Regional Enforcement Office located at 6308 Grovedale Dr., Alexandria, to the public until further notice. ABC special agents will continue to provide support to licensees and answer questions. Anyone with pending business at this office should call (703) 313-4432 Monday through Friday during normal business hours (8:15 a.m.–5 p.m.) and press “0” to reach an operator or email barbara.storm@abc.virginia.gov.

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 dawn.hanks@abc.virginia.gov. Residents in the area of either office may apply for one-day banquet and special event licenses online at www.abc.virginia.gov. As circumstances continue to change due to COVID-19, we may temporarily close more 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. For the health and safety of our employees and customers alike, we’ve installed Plexiglas shields at registers in all 388 of our stores.

For the health and safety of our employees and customers alike, we are installing Plexiglas shields at registers in stores. Installation began the week of April 6 and we aim for all stores in the commonwealth to have the shields in place by May 9.

Effective May 1, 2020, all Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority employees are required to wear either the disposable/cloth facemasks provided by ABC or their own facemask. Effective May 29, all customers entering an ABC store must also wear a mask or face covering to shop in the store. If viewing a customer’s face is the only way to identify the customer for legality of age requirements, that customer will be asked to lower their mask briefly to certify the age.

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. In addition, many stores are providing modified counter service where customers stand at a safe distance from others at the front of the store while ABC employees retrieve products at their request. 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 Licensee Resources page for current information about modified regulations that are in 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.

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Please check our Media Room for the latest news releases from Virginia ABC concerning COVID-19.