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A sigh of relief for the restaurant industry as Northam extends cocktails to-go service

The service helps businesses stay afloat, but could DUIs rise?

Cocktails to-go are not leaving Virginia anytime soon.
Cocktails to-go are not leaving Virginia anytime soon.

Roanoke, Va. – Cocktails to-go are not leaving anytime soon.

Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill to extend the service to next year.

Seeing a decline in sales of about 73%, the co-owner of Fortunato, John Powell, feels the hard hit of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s like we were really the worst type of dining to be in this,” said Powell.

Known for their fancy dining, cocktails to-go helps keep Fortunato and Powell’s other restaurant, Lucky, afloat.

Just like the downtown Roanoke taco restaurant, Tuco’s Taqueria Garaje.

JoJo Soprano with Tuco’s Taqueria Garaje said 60% of their business comes from to-go sales.

“It has certainly made things a lot easier,” Soprano said.

Northam’s approval of the extension will help local businesses, but people need to remember to take caution when getting behind the wheel.

With cocktails to go already in place for about a year, attorney David Damico said he is not worried about a spike in DUIs.

“I think if that was a problem you would have heard it as a discussion in the general assembly,” he said.

From February 2019 to 2020, the Roanoke City Police recorded 286 DUIs. From last year to this year, 219 cases were reported, a 23% decrease, but if someone gets a DUI, the punishment could be months in jail and/or a fine of $2,500. A big price to potentially pay for just a couple of drinks.

By sealing drinks with lids and tape, Soprano said, “we do our part to make sure the consumer gets home and drink those.”

The extension will last until July 2022.

About the Author:

Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.