ABC store masks

The ABC store in Bluefield, Va., is seen on Friday. Starting Monday, anyone entering an ABC store in Virginia will be required to wear a mask. 

RICHMOND, Va. — Anyone entering a Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) store in Virginia on Monday will be required to wear a facial covering.

The ABC announced Friday is joining other retailers to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by stepping up enforcement of the face mask requirement in its stores and instituting a “no mask, no entry’ policy

Starting Monday, no one will be allowed entry into an ABC store without a mask.

As part of this requirement, ABC will make “every attempt to provide a mask to customers who arrive without one.”

The ABC cited guidance from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) that says the virus can be spread by people who don’t have symptoms and don’t know they are infected, so it is “critically important” for everyone to practice social distancing and wear a face covering in public.

“Evolving guidance from health officials stresses the importance of face masks as a way of protecting the health and well-being of the communities that we serve,” said ABC Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill. “The vast majority of our customers have followed our direction these last few weeks and consistently wear face masks in our stores; however our ‘no mask, no entry’ policy is to ensure as safe a shopping experience as feasible. We know that it may not be possible for everyone to wear a face covering. In those cases, we suggest curbside pickup as an alternative to in-store shopping.”

State ABC stores offer the curbside pickup for online orders at 370 stores. After placing an online order at www.abc.virginia.gov, customers can opt for contactless pickup of spirits, Virginia wines and mixers from ABC stores the same day the order is placed, as long as the selected products are available in the store.

All ABC stores over the last several months have implemented many safety measures.

“We’ve worked hard to create a shopping environment that is safe for customers and employees,” Hill said “We want a bottle to be the only thing you take home from one of our stores.”

Statewide, ABC stores continue to operate on a modified schedule. Last month, stores returned to their normal, pre-pandemic closing times, but all stores maintain a noon opening time, seven days a week.

Customers can check their local store’s adjusted hours by visiting ABC’s store finder page, www.abc.virginia.gov/stores.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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