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Virginia Resources

The following is a list of resources and vital information related to the state of Virginia Coronavirus Response Efforts as related to your Virginia based restaurant. This list of resource links will continue to be updated with new information as it becomes available.

Where Virginia Is In ReOpening 

All remaining Covid restrictions have been lifted.

Outdoor Dining

In Arlington, VA, the Temporary Outdoor Seating Area (TOSA) program will continue at least through the rest of 2021, but you may need to act to use your TOSAs and your dining rooms to their fullest capacities.

Our friends at the Arlington Chamber of Commerce shared the following: 

When TOSAs were first approved, the regulations said that a restaurant could only seat the number of patrons listed as its max dining room capacity across both its dining room and TOSA. This limit was no big deal when the distancing restrictions were in place. But, now that you can fill up your dining room, the rule could make it hard (or impossible) to use your TOSA if your dining room is full. Arlington County has created a process to fix this issue.

You can apply for a “Temporary Certificate of Occupancy” to expand your total capacity so you can fill up your dining room and your TOSA. To do this, you must schedule a code consultation with Arlington’s Inspection Services Division to discuss capacity, layout, and related details by completing this form and emailing it to arlcoisdpr@arlingtonva.us.

You can also expand the number of seats and tables in your existing TOSAs (now that the distancing rules have been lifted) by submitting an updated TOSA application form with the proposed layout, and emailing it to TOSA@arlingtonva.us.

Click here to read the recently issued TOSA update and required steps in full detail from Arlington County, as well as an update regarding VA ABC and continued TOSA service. 

There are several laws and regulations that went into effect on Thursday, July 1, 2021. 

ABC Legislative Changes

  • ABC License and Fee Reform (House Bill 1845): Delays the effective date of the 2020 ABC license and fee reform from July 1, 2021, to January 1, 2022. (Took effect on March 11, 2021) 

  • Alcohol To Go Extended (House Bill 1871/Senate Bill 1299): A major priority for our industry that we’ve shared before, this extends the allowance to sell cocktails-to-go through June 30, 2022 (effective 7/1/21), and requires that the ABC form a workgroup to study the potential of making this permanent.  The workgroup has met twice so far and recommendations are due to the General Assembly by Nov. 2021. We will be pulling operators together in early August to gather feedback for RAMW to share with the working group. 

  • ABC Notices/Criminal Blight (House Bill 2131): This is another bill in which RAMW was very involved during the legislative process. In short, it achieves two goals. The first is that it adds the chief administrative officer of a locality to the list of persons who may be sent notice of certain license applications by the Board of Directors of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority. Secondly, the bill also expands the definition of "criminal blight" for which the locality may require a property owner to take corrective action to include a condition existing on real property that endangers public health or safety and is caused by the regular presence on the property of persons in possession of controlled substances and the discharge of a firearm under certain conditions. 

  • Local Special Events License (House Bill 2266/Senate Bill 1471): This legislation renames the "local special events" license as the "designated outdoor refreshment area" license. The bill allows the Board of Directors of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority to increase the frequency and duration of events held under such license after adoption of an ordinance by a locality requesting such increase in frequency and duration.

Other Legislation

Disability Rights: Starting on July 1, it will be illegal to discriminate in Virginia on the basis of disability under the Virginia Human Rights Act. Legislation from the General Assembly added “disability” to the Act’s list of protected categories. The new law also compels employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees’ physical and mental challenges, and blocks employers from retaliating against employees who ask for those accommodations.

Extending Pandemic Tenant Protections: There’s no longer an eviction moratorium in Virginia, and the commonwealth is scrambling to get federal aid to tenants before the federal eviction ban expires at the end of June. The General Assembly did, however, approve a yearlong extension of a number of tenant protections, originally set to expire on July 1. Those protections require landlords to offer payment plans for tenants behind on their rent; to serve written notice of the tenant’s nonpayment of rent before they begin to terminate the lease; and, in the case of smaller landlords, to wait two weeks before ending a lease agreement after serving notice.

Styrofoam Ban (House Bill 1902): Requires large restaurants and food vendors — defined as those that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations —  to stop dispensing food in single use polystyrene containers by July 2023. Other foodservice vendors must stop by July 2025. Localites may grant consecutive one-year exemptions to individual vendors on the basis of undue economic hardship. This legislation was the subject of significant negotiations. Effective July 1, 2021. 

Third-Party Delivery (House Bill 2062): A big win for restaurants, this prohibits third-party food delivery platforms from submitting orders on behalf of a consumer or arranging for the delivery of an order from a restaurant without first obtaining an agreement with the restaurant expressly authorizing the food delivery platform to take orders and deliver food prepared by the restaurant. Effective July 1, 2021.

archived coronavirus content

Local Coronavirus Updates

 

Contact RAMW

If you have questions regarding any of the above topics or anything else, please email coronavirus@ramw.org, as this will help ensure you receive a timely response on your pressing issue. To reach out to a specific team member, please click here for our staff directory.