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Virginia ABC limiting hours at all stores as response to COVID-19

(WCAX)
Published: Mar. 24, 2020 at 1:57 PM EDT
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The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) announced on Tuesday that they are reducing operating hours at all their stores starting this Friday as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

ABC stores are considered an essential business under the

, so they will continue to operate, just like grocery stories and pharmacies, as the outbreak continues,

However, starting Friday, March 27, with the outbreak expanding, all Virginia ABC stores will be open from noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

Those hours are already in place

on the eastern side of that state, which has seen some of the highest concentrations of COVID-19 cases in Virginia so far.

The Virginia ABC says "reducing the time the stores will be open to customers allows staff time to stock shelves, as well as clean and thoroughly disinfect store surfaces to protect employees and customers. Additionally, the limited operating hours enable more flexibility in staffing."

To limit your time in ABC stores, you can place orders online at

.

"Given the expanding nature of the coronavirus to other areas of the commonwealth, after consulting with the Virginia Department of Health, we believe these adjustments to our business practices will reinforce measures already in place to keep everyone safe and mitigate the impact of this virus on our employees and customers,” said Virginia ABC Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill.

On March 19, one ABC store, at 1217 West Broad Street in downtown Richmond, was closed after the roommate of an employee tested positive for COVID-19. Both the employee and the roommate have been home in quarantine and the store will remain closed for two weeks, during which time the store will be deep-cleaned and sanitized.

All the other employees were asked to self-quarantine for two weeks as well. As of March 24, no Virginia ABC employees had tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Virginia ABC is committed to serving individual customers and licensed businesses by keeping its retail stores open for as long as we can safely do so. Please limit your store visits to purchase distilled spirits, when possible, and help us keep you, our store staff and others safe and healthy,” Hill added.