First round of outdoor refreshment bills is on (in) the House

January 14, 2021

Identical bills – HB 1738 (Wampler), HB 2051 (Bourne), and HB 2266 (Ayala) – would allow any county, city, or town to create up to three “outdoor refreshment areas” to permit the consumption of alcohol sold by restaurants, bars and establishments located within such area. Each designated area is limited to one-half square mile, which is equivalent to 320 acres.

A locality wishing to create such areas would need to adopt an ordinance, post appropriate signage and coordinate with local law enforcement to establish a public safety plan that:

  1. Details local strategies for managing pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic within the outdoor refreshment area;
  2. Identifies and designates at least one Transportation Network Company (TNC) partner (such as Uber or Lyft) vehicle pickup area within or near each outdoor refreshment area to help facilitate efficient and safe travel to and from the outdoor refreshment area;
  3. Incorporates local law-enforcement agencies to provide for the safety and welfare of individuals and businesses located within the outdoor refreshment area; and
  4. Provides for the management of any additional locality-specific public safety concerns.

VACo Contacts: Joe Lerch, AICP and Chris McDonald, Esq.

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