Why are state liquor stores open during a state of emergency?

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RICHMOND, Va. — State-owned Virginia ABC stores opened Friday while Virginia was under a state of emergency due to a winter storm. Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Transportation had urged drivers to stay off the roads Friday.

When contacted via phone Friday afternoon, several Virginia ABC stores around Richmond indicated they would close at 4 p.m., six hours after the snow started falling.

So why did state-owned liquor stores stay open during the state of emergency?

“Decisions to close Virginia ABC stores during emergency situations, including inclement weather, are made by the regional manager,” the Virginia ABC posted online. “Regional managers communicate with individual store managers to gather additional information on local conditions as necessary. When determining whether to open a store or close a store early, regional and store managers will consider such things as the operating hours of nearby businesses, consumer demand, road conditions in the area and forecasted weather.”

Virginia ABC cited employee safety and customer service as reasons for staying open or closing early.

“As a sole source retailer, Virginia ABC strives to provide the best and most convenient service to our retail and licensee customers, and will make every effort to have each store open for some portion of each day as conditions warrant, although that is not always possible,” the agency posted. “Please contact your store directly to inquire about changes to operating hours with the understanding that during unpredictable situations, circumstances may change quickly.”

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