News & Politics

Omicron Makes It Harder to Buy Booze in Montgomery County

The county's 26 ABS stores are cutting back business hours due to staffing shortages.

Photograph by Popartic via iStock/Getty Images Plus.

After spoiling travel plans and office reopenings throughout the Washington region, the omicron crisis is now disrupting the one thing that’s gotten many people through the past two years: drinking.

The Department of Alcohol Beverage Services in Montgomery County is cutting back hours at its 26 retail stores because of staffing shortages linked to the covid pandemic. One retail location, in Poolesville, shut down entirely on Monday and Tuesday, though it will reopen Wednesday. 

“Montgomery County appreciates its outstanding workforce more than ever,” the agency’s director, Kathie Durbin, said in a press release Tuesday, via WTOP.  “ABS remains committed to excellent customer service, and we look forward to returning to regular hours once this current wave has passed.”

Under the new, temporary schedule, which takes effect Wednesday, the Maryland county’s ABS retail stores—which sell beer, wine, and liquor—will operate from noon to 8 PM from Monday to Saturday, and from noon to 5 PM on Sundays. 

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.