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May 11, 2022

Underage drinkers are getting ahold of booze easier through to-go orders in Virginia

Brandon Meister prepares a Moscow Mule drink for a carry out order at Mellow Mushroom in Richmond’s Carytown neighborhood on May 16, 2020. (Parker Michels-Boyce/For the Virginia Mercury)
By Luke Lukert
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Getting a cold beer or margarita with a delivery order in Virginia is just a few taps away on delivery apps under a pandemic-era law, but a new report shows it’s also easier for underage drinkers to get ahold of booze that way.

Virginia ABC agents conducted an operation in which they placed 70 delivery orders — which included alcoholic beverages — at restaurants through third-party delivery apps.

They also used IDs that were underage.

And of those 70 orders, 52 were accepted and complete with an underage ID.

Thirty-two of the orders went off without a hitch to the underage buyer. Most of the time, ID wasn’t requested, but nine times the delivery driver looked at the underage ID and then gave it to them anyway.

The report added, “Four delivered cocktails with no food, two delivered more than four cocktails in violation of statutory limitations, two did not have secure lids, one delivered shots of liquor, which is not allowed, but provided a bowl of chili to attempt compliance with the food requirement.”

Those are all violations of the to-go cocktail law.

The report came from a group tasked with studying whether the law should be permanent. They suggest stricter age verification for restaurants and third-party delivery apps.

Virginia extended the to-go cocktail policy until July 1, 2024.


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This article was written by InsideNoVa's news partner, WTOP, and republished with permission. Sign up for WTOP's breaking news, traffic and weather alerts as well as daily emails.
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