Montgomery County’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) will extend hours of operation at 25 of its retail store locations starting Thursday, April 1. The new hours will have those stores open Monday through Saturday, noon. to 9 p.m. For the past year, stores closed at 7 p.m. due to COVID-19-related staffing impacts.
The extended hours will be implemented as increased numbers of shoppers and store staff receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Many employees on long-term leave due to the health crisis have been vaccinated and are returning to work.
“Now that more employees and residents are getting vaccinated, we are able to get back to our pre-COVID evening hours,” said Kent Massie, ABS division chief for retail operations. “We know our customers want the convenience of shopping later into the evening, especially as the days get longer. Staying open later makes sense given we are continuing to limit the number of shoppers in stores at one time.”
The Poolesville spirits-only store, which opened last June, will continue to be open Monday through Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. The earlier closing time is consistent with the business model for the smaller format, lower volume store.
ABS stores will continue to be closed on Sundays. However, the department will re-evaluate this status as more shoppers venture out and as vaccination levels continue to rise.
ABS retail stores will continue to maintain social distancing guidelines, limits on the number of customers in stores at one time, enhanced cleaning protocols, plexiglass barriers at checkout and mandatory face coverings for employees and shoppers.
For information about ABS, including store hours and locations, visit its website.
ABS is the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine and spirits for Montgomery County and operates 26 retail stores throughout the County. In addition, ABS manages alcohol licensing, enforcement, and education for more than 1,000 businesses. Generating more than $35 million in net income annually, its profits are used to pay down County debt with a large portion deposited in the general fund to pay for resident services that would otherwise be funded by County tax dollars.