New alcohol restrictions for Virginia present challenges to local restaurants and bars

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced Friday that restrictions will be placed on alcohol sales.
Finnigan's Cove is worried the new restrictions will hurt business.
Published: Nov. 14, 2020 at 9:12 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -Governor Ralph Northam has issued new COVID-19 restrictions which will go into effect starting Monday. Among the new measures, bars and restaurants will have to stop on-site alcohol sales at 10 p.m. and close by midnight.

For establishments like Finnigan’s Cove in Downtown Harrisonburg, the new restrictions may hurt business.

Donna Finnigan, the owner of Finnigan’s Cove, said most of their customers come later in the night.

“Most people don’t come out until 9, so what? They have an hour?," Finnigan said.

Finnigan said not only will the alcohol restrictions hurt business, but she does not see it preventing COVID-19 spread.

“People are not going to be inside establishments where they have to wear a mask. They’re going to go to people’s houses. As soon as alcohol is gone, they’re going to people’s houses and be together," Finnigan said.

Finnigan said they were handling the current COVID-19 measures in place, but the new restrictions will limit the late night crowd.

“I mean, it wasn’t terrible. Obviously you can’t use the bar, you can’t use but so many tables. But with the restrictions of closing at 10, before we were able to get restaurants that closed early, so their employees want somewhere to go,” Finnigan said.

Now, the restaurant and bar doesn’t plan to stay open after alcohol sales close.

Finnigan said she isn’t sure what the future holds for employees, but says it is unfortunate for this to happen before the holidays.

“They’re going to lose a lot of money. I mean so what’s gonna happen is, I don’t know, do we cut staff? What do you do? So you could have people losing jobs, you have people losing money," Finnigan said.

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