North Carolina to ban sale of alcohol after 11 PM

North Carolina to ban sale of alcohol after 11 PM

Alcohol sales at North Carolina restaurants will be banned after 11 p.m., Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced Tuesday.

Cooper said the curfew will take effect July 31, calling it a necessary step to prevent the late-night crowds that are a particularly risky environment for the spread of the coronavirus. While bars are closed due to the pandemic, he said, some restaurants are essentially functioning as bars later in the evening.

"We want to prevent restaurants from turning into bars after hours," Cooper said, according to a local ABC affiliate. "We're hopeful that this new rule can help drive down cases."

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Retailers that sell alcohol to be consumed elsewhere, such as grocery and convenient stores, will not be subject to the order, the governor said.

"It's all about trying to help people make better decisions now that we're in this emergency situation,” Pamela Tragenstein of the UNC Gillings School of Public Health told the outlet, saying bars functioned as “super spreaders.”

The city of Raleigh imposed a similar order earlier in July, according to the channel.

"Let's face it, when people consume alcohol they're not making good choices," Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin (D) said. "Not everybody, but some, so we just want to reduce that risk and do so in a responsible way."

Sean Umstead, the owner of Kingfisher in Durham, said he agreed the order was necessary for public health but said the state should consider allowing carryout service for alcohol.

"Though I agree with the public health officials' decisions, I do think that takeout, to-go cocktails and fixing our unemployment program for vulnerable folks who work in this industry are two really important, straightforward ways to mitigate this disaster," Umstead, whose restaurant closed on March 15, told the outlet.

"We need real solutions," he continued. "I appreciate the decisiveness action that Governor Cooper and public health officials are taking on that front, but we need some decisive action to give us outlets."