Virginia Beach businesses feel unfairly targeted by reopening rollback

Posted at 11:07 PM, Aug 01, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The weekends are big for business but with new restrictions in place in Hampton Roads, some business owners are feeling the impact.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive order puts restrictions on restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Danny Royse co-owns and manages The Edge, a pub on Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach.

“I think a lot of businesses here would agree we’re taking the blunt of this,” said Royse.

With many tourists flocking to the beaches and staying for the nightlife, the city has become a hotspot for coronavirus infections.

Rising COVID cases is the reason why the governor has rolled back some of the reopening plans in Hampton Roads for restaurants and bars, restricting alcohol service, indoor dining and social gatherings.

The order went into effect at midnight on Friday, July 31, but Royse said most of the restaurants and bars on the strip started following the order on Thursday. He said they’re under intense scrutiny after the governor mentioned dropping in on businesses unannounced to make sure they’re complying.

“We decided to play it safe,” Royse said. “We’re under a microscope. This is a busy area and the governor already called us out saying this is the focal point where issues are at. We can’t risk it.”

A 10 p.m. curfew is now in effect for alcohol sales and consumption. Restaurants must close by midnight and keep inside capacity below 50 percent. Large gatherings went from 250 people to no more than 50.

Royse said by shutting down the bar early and closing at midnight instead of 2 a.m., he’s losing up to 75 percent of net sales in a night.

“We’re a location that’s predominately getting busy at 9:30 p.m., 10 o’clock,” he said.

Business owners believe the changes should be across the board, rather than targeting bars.

Adrian Montgomery owns A.O.M. Security and works for bars and hotels in Virginia Beach.

“It’s not fair to walk away from your job that’s supposed to be open till 2 o’clock in the morning and walking past a yogurt place with kids eating ice cream,” Montgomery said.

Angeleena Prevatt and her friends came to Virginia Beach for a girls weekend and said the new restrictions won’t do anything to slow the spread but it will hurt the economy.

“It just not a small decision that effects one thing, it’s a domino effect,” said the Windsor resident. “I get alcohol helps people make bad decisions, but at the end of the day what is drinking going to do. We’re still out here. We’re still on the beach. We’re still around each other, so what is taking alcohol off the table really doing? To me it’s just more restrictions, more regulation.”