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Restaurants can serve cocktails with takeout food

(AP) When Virginia residents order takeout, they can now tack on a mezcal margarita or springtime sangria.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced restaurants and distilleries could sell mixed beverages with takeout or delivery orders starting April 8, news outlets reported.

Northam said the addition of mixed beverages to restaurant orders could help alleviate potential financial hardships during the coronavirus pandemic.

The rule change applies to “mixed beverage restaurants, limited mixed beverage restaurants, distillers and limited distillers” that have an agreement with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.

Some restrictions apply. Mixed-beverage restaurants can sell two cocktails with each takeout or delivery meal, up to four cocktails per order. All the containers must be sealed and sales end at 11 p.m.

Distilleries can deliver only two mixed drinks with a maximum of 3 ounces of spirits. As of Monday, distilleries were allowed to ship directly to in-state customers.

Northam also announced that businesses with ABC licenses expiring in March, April, May and June would have their license renewal fees deferred 90 days past the original expiration date.

“If we didn’t do this, some businesses that are closed would be in the position of paying a fee for a license that they can’t use or losing their license,” Northam said.

Last month, Northam said Virginia ABC stores would be recognized as essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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