ALEXANDRIA, Va. (DC News Now) — A new law in Virginia put into place on July 1 ensures that a pandemic phenomenon is able to stay in place.
Friday marks the start of a two-year extension of cocktails-to-go in the commonwealth and restaurants and thrilled with the decision by lawmakers and the governor.
Ed Manzanarez, a bartender at Taquiero El Poblano in Alexandria, has been making margaritas for over a decade. That didn’t slow down at the start of 2020 — it just changed cups.
“If we [weren’t] able to seel these, we wouldn’t make it,” he said.
Making margaritas and selling them to-go was a fiscal lifeline through the worst days of the pandemic. Manzanarez said this is a relief.
“People are still not feeling safe and most of the people in the neighborhood have families,” he said. “So it’s better for them to take the margaritas home.”
Over in Arlington at Rebellion on the Pike, Madison Seehafer, a bartender, is also thrilled with the decision. She said the demand for to-go cocktails is less than at the peak of the pandemic but still useful for business.
“I still get phone calls asking if we do them,” Seehafer said. “I still get regulars who, after they’ve been drinking will be like, ‘Okay, let me get one of those to go because it was so good.'”
Whenever the topic of to-go cocktails or alcohol gets brought up there are some concerns about the risks of drunk driving. But there are some restrictions on where you can keep the drink in your car included in the legislation.
According to the law, the drink has to be in a closed container with no straw holes, and it has to be stored in the trunk or an area behind the driver’s seat in a locked container.
Manzanarez said he appreciates the safety efforts. He’s also grateful his customers have more ways to support their local businesses.
“This is great because they have choices,” he said. “It’s either they come over here at the bar or they can take it home, which is great. You have that choice.”
Among the other new laws in Virginia is the creation of a third-party license that allows the holder to deliver alcoholic beverages bought from businesses with licenses from the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.
For a full list of new laws in the commonwealth, click here.