Governor Northam’s Latest Executive Orders: COVID-19 (effective April Fool’s Day)

Governor Ralph Northam, Virginia, COVID-19 restrictions
(New updates for Executive Order 72-starting 4/1/21). 
Restaurants, Dining Establishments, Food Courts, Breweries, Microbreweries, Distilleries, Wineries, and Tasting Rooms 
Governor Ralph Northam, Virginia, COVID-19 restrictions
Governor Ralph Northam, Virginia Governor 2021

Restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms may continue to operate delivery, take-out, and indoor and outdoor service, provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors, and sector-specific guidance for restaurant and beverage services incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements: 

  • No alcoholic beverage shall be sold, consumed, or possessed on premises between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. Alcoholic beverages may continue to be sold via delivery or take-out between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m., as permitted by existing regulations promulgated by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority. 
  • Closure of all dining and congregation areas in restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m. Restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms may continue to offer delivery and take-out services between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m. 
  • All private bookings are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, and must comply with section I, subsection B, paragraph 1. 
  • All parties must be separated by at least six feet, including in the bar area. Tables at which dining parties are seated must be positioned six feet apart from other tables. If tables are not movable, parties must be seated at least six feet apart, including in the bar area. 
  • Customers may be provided with self-service options. Facilities must provide hand sanitizer at food lines and require the use of barriers (e.g., gloves or deli paper) when employees or patrons touch common utensils. Food lines must be monitored by trained staff at all times of operation, and serving utensils must be changed hourly. 3 
  • Employees must wear masks over their nose and mouth while working at their place of employment. Exceptions noted in section II do not apply. g. Patrons must wear masks over their nose and mouth, except while eating or drinking in accordance with section II. 
  • Routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently-contacted surfaces must be conducted during operation. Tabletops must be cleaned in between patrons. 
  • Bar seats and congregating areas of restaurants must be closed to patrons except for through-traffic. Non-bar seating in the bar area (i.e., tables or counter seats that do not line up to a bar or food service area) may be used for customer seating as long as a minimum of six feet is provided between parties at tables. 
  • If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.  

GATHERINGS: 

  • Social gatherings: The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase to 50 people for indoor settings and 100 people for outdoor settings (currently limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors).
  • Entertainment venues: All indoor and outdoor entertainment and public amusement venues must continue to operate at 30 percent capacity. Indoor venues must operate at 30 percent capacity or with a maximum of 500 people, an increase from the current cap of 250 people. Outdoor venues must operate at 30 percent capacity, with no specific cap on the number of attendees (currently limited to 30 percent capacity or up to 1,000 attendees, whichever was fewer).
  •  Recreational sporting events: The number of spectators allowed at recreational sporting events will increase from 25 to 100 people per field or 30 percent capacity, whichever is less for indoor settings, and from 250 to 500 people per field or 30 percent capacity, whichever is less for outdoor settings.
  •  In-person graduation and commencement events: Last week, Governor Northam issued preliminary guidance on safe in-person graduations and commencements, which included a cap of 5,000 people or 30 percent of the venue capacity for outdoor events, whichever is less. Events held indoors may have up to 500 people, or 30 percent of the venue capacity, whichever is less. Attendees must wear masks and follow other guidelines and safety protocols to ensure proper distancing.

*Disclaimer: This article and its contents represent the opinions of the author only and is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice. ABC Consulting is a private consulting firm, in no way do we represent the VA Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority. You should not act upon any such information without seeking qualified professional advice based upon your situation.

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