Late-night alcohol sales prohibited in Charlotte, some surrounding towns

Updated: Jul. 22, 2020 at 7:50 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County officials have finalized a proclamation to limit the hours of alcohol sales in Charlotte and a few other towns in the county.

In a letter to the Board of County Commissioners on the morning of July 15, County Manager Dena R. Diorio says that the county, the City of Charlotte and some surrounding towns had agreed to expanding restrictions.

Diorio said the Policy Group decided to move forward with the recommendation to prohibit alcohol sales after 11 p.m. beginning on Thursday, July 23.

Diorio says the group has agreed that the restrictions will remain in place as long as North Carolina remains in Phase 2, which for now runs until Aug. 7 at 5 p.m.

WBTV has obtained the proclamation that outlines the restrictions that would be put in place.

These were the restrictive sections of the proclamation:

  • Restaurants serving only food and non-alcoholic beverages may continue to operate during advertised hours provided all requirements for social distancing and mask wearing are followed.
  • Restaurants and private clubs serving food and alcohol shall be closed to the onsite consumption of food and beverages and no customers shall be present for the onsite consumption of food or beverages between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Restaurants may continue to offer drive through, delivery, and/or pick-up services between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Restaurants, breweries, wine shops, private clubs, bars, and any other business or organization that are permitted to sell alcohol for onsite consumption may not sell alcohol between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. and no customers shall be present for onsite consumption of alcohol between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Restaurants, private clubs and other food and beverage service businesses may not provide onsite outdoor table service for the consumption of food or alcoholic beverages in Mecklenburg County, City of Charlotte, Towns of Davidson, Matthews, Mint Hill or Pineville between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Restaurants, private clubs, bars and other food and beverage service businesses shall not allow sitting or standing at bars for food and beverage consumption and shall not allow patrons to touch shared surfaces such as bar counters or game equipment such as pool tables, darts pinball machines, or any other such game equipment that requires social touching of the game equipment.
  • All outdoor activities, gatherings, or events of more than 25 people are prohibited. (Worship services, religious and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, and gatherings for health and safety, for work, to obtain food, or to obtain government services are exempt from this section.)

According to the proclamation, these restrictions would apply only within Mecklenburg County (excluding Huntersville and Cornelius), City of Charlotte, and Towns of Davidson, Matthews, Mint Hill and Pineville.

Matthews, Pineville and Mint Hill have since pulled out of this proclamation, and are following the state’s less restrictive order.

Charlotte Douglas airport staff are exempt from the prohibition on food preparation and service in order to meet passenger and employee/worker needs.

The proclamation would be enforced by state and local law enforcement officers. A violation of this proclamation may subject the violator to prosecution and is punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Evidence has revealed that many businesses and patrons are not taking social distancing seriously, nor wearing masks, according to county officials.

Officials say some businesses and organizations that are allowed to operate in Phase 2 are hosting outdoor activities and events, being conducted in a manner that violates Executive Order 147.

Several restaurants are remaining open until the early morning hours with limited food service but with greater consumption of alcohol and there is little to no physical/social distancing among the patrons and those frequenting the business during late hours, the proclamation states.

Officials point to several news accounts depicting restaurants operating with no visible social distancing.

The Centers for Disease Control “CDC” and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services indicate the consumption of alcohol in excess leads individuals to engage in more risky behaviors with generally lower inhibitions.

The proclamation states that risky behavior and lower inhibitions are likely to lead to a greater likelihood of failure to socially distance or follow Executive Order 147 and other orders designed to slow the spread.

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