CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — If you go to an outdoor festival in the Mountain State this summer, you may be able to sample alcohol for the first time.
Some West Virginia lawmakers want to move the state’s liquor laws into the 21st century.
“Most of our laws were written in the ’30s,” said Deno Stanley, owner of Adelphia Sports Bar and Grille.
The is to get the changes approved as COVID-19 restrictions begin to fade.
“Once we get to the Spring and Summer as vaccinations are more prevalent and as these new regulations go into place, we are really hoping to provide the best framework to hit the ground running,” said Richie Heath, the Executive Director of the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association.
The tourism officials found the state’s economy would benefit if the liquor laws suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, are removed permanently.
“Fairs and festivals, or distilleries or craft breweries can bring their samples in now…where previously they were not able to do that,” said Stanley.
The belief is allowing samples and open containers in restricted outdoor areas will attract more people to those events, most of which were canceled last summer.
“Other states already do this so we need to be competitive,” said Stanley.
Members of the food and beverage industry hope that taking away these alcohol restrictions will increase tourism.
“For every dollar, we spend we get eight dollars back. So people will come here spend their tourism dollars and see the wonderful things West Virginia has to offer,” said Stanley.