New Bills Affecting Virginia

The restaurant industry and the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association had yet another productive year in the 2017 General Assembly Session. Many bills came and went at our state’s capitol in Richmond, and quite a few important changes took effect at the beginning of July. Here is s a quick look at a few of the new laws affecting the restaurant industry.

SB 1296
A big win for the restaurant and hospitality industry is that, as of July 1, if a county holds a referendum to institute a meals tax and it fails, the county will have to wait three years before it has the ability to initiate another meals tax referendum. This will help fight against aggressive referendums trying to implement this single-industry tax and provide restaurants with peace of mind following the successful defeat of a referendum.

HB 1987 | SB 1391
Many changes to the ABC laws took effect at the beginning of July. A new license was created for “commercial lifestyle centers.” This new license will enable larger mixed-use commercial developments that fit certain criteria to obtain this license to allow any on-premises restaurant licensee to sell alcohol to patrons who may then take their drink, leave the restaurant, and lawfully consume it on the premises of the commercial development.

SB 1382
Another law that came into effect this year enables establishments in the process of applying for a retail license to serve alcohol to be issued said license if they provide a copy of the food establishment permit, proof of inspection, proof of a pending application for a permit, or proof of a pending inspection. Those issued a license on the basis of a pending permit or inspection will be allowed to purchase alcohol, though they cannot sell any alcoholic beverages until a permit is issued or an inspection completed.
VRLTA continues to fight to ensure important laws like these and others are put on the books to help make Virginia a better state for business, for the hospitality industry, and consumers. To learn more about our efforts or to become a member, visit

Virginia Hospitality and Travel Awards Now Accepting NominationsEach year, the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association honors our extraordinary industry at the annual Ordinary Awards ceremony and dinner. The 2017 awards will be handed on October 2, 2017 at The Westin Richmond. Do you know a deserving individual or organization? Nominations are now being accepted through August 25, 2017 for 16 awards across four major categories. Membership with VRLTA is NOT a requirement to submit a nomination or be honored with an award. Submit a nomination today at


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