Emergency order puts a cork in alcohol sales, club operation in Virginia

Business

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — At 10,000 square feet, the largest nightclub on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront is closed until further notice.

Peabody’s was already operating under reduced capacity and limited hours. Owner Brandon Ramsey took a look at the numbers and made the tough decision to shutter the historic nightclub.

“We have decided to close. I need to figure out a better game plan to get people out earlier,” said Ramsey.

Beginning at midnight on Friday, restrictions will prohibit the on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol after 10:00 p.m. All dining establishments must close by midnight. Indoor is dining is limited to 50 percent and public and private in-person gatherings over 50 people will be prohibited.

It’s been a tough year for eateries and entertainment venues along the waterfront. Meals tax revenue is already down nearly 25 percent.

The resort city’s restaurant association is critical of the emergency order, saying the industry is getting punished by new restrictions that won’t make a dent in the COVID-19 infection numbers but will likely inflict more pain on an already ailing bottom line.

“These additional restrictions of just being singled out is a difficult thing; we understand the governor wants safety for the community, and that is so incredibly important, but restaurants are not the problem,” said Stacey Shiflet, with the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association.

To handle the impact of the pandemic restrictions, Ramsey has laid off 40 employees and he has to toss fresh food valued at approximately 2,000 dollars. He feels somewhat defeated after he says he played by the rules.

“I don’t think Peabody’s is to blame. We were very strict inside Peabody’s. We did not have a dance floor — I’m not sure if people are aware of the executive order — you’re not even allowed to dance going to Peabody’s, and not dancing is kinda strange,” said Ramsey.

He hopes to reopen the club before Labor Day.


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