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Food & Drink

Belly Up to the Bar in a Safe Rule Filled Manner

Governor Northman updated one of his executive orders to now include bar seating as an option with caveats.




The Governor updated the executive order that regulates businesses during these Covid times. The order that was updated is right here if you want to dive in. The important information for those missing the bar experience is, “patrons may be seated at the bar for service, provided a minimum of six feet is provided between parties.”

That doesn’t mean things are back to normal. Many of the restrictions remain.

  • No alcoholic beverage shall be sold, consumed, or possessed on premises between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room.
  • All private bookings are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors
  • All parties must be separated by at least six feet, including in the bar area.
  • Employees must wear masks over their nose and mouth while working at their place of employment.
  • Patrons must wear masks over their nose and mouth, except while eating or drinking.

Although this seems to be a step in the right direction towards restaurant/bar profitability not everyone is jumping on the bar seating bandwagon.

Karri Piefer at talked with some restaurants and bars to get their takes and it’s a decided mix of those that will be opening those seats and those that won’t.

And EAT Restaurant Partners — the largest independently owned restaurant group in the Richmond area — said it’s hurrying to open the bars at all 15 of its local restaurants, however they can and by the end of Thursday.

“Where we can seat people at the bar safely, we’re going to seat them immediately,” said Chris Staples, director of marketing for the group.

In some cases, Staples said, the restaurant will push tables up against the bar to maximize seating. In others, to keep enough distance between the bar seats and existing tables, such as at Wong Gonzales in downtown Richmond — customers will find traditional bar seating — with 6 feet between parties.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.