Mecklenburg Co. businesses prepare for first weekend with ban on late-night alcohol sales

Meck County bans alcohol sales after 11 p.m.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Right now, restaurants and bars in Mecklenburg County are under a new restriction to close up shop earlier than normal.

We’re coming up on the first weekend where bars and restaurants will have to stop selling alcohol by 11 p.m.

No customers will be allowed inside after that time unless the restaurant does not sell alcohol.

Sitting or standing at the bar is also prohibited.

“It’s not easy because every day is something new,” Heist Brewery managing partner Spencer Farrell said. “After the shutdown, we were from 11-7, then we opened food to curbside when we were able to open to 10 o clock then we said, ‘OK, Friday and Saturday people want to hang out a little longer.‘”

Before coronavirus, people were sipping beers until 2 a.m.

This weekend will look a little different.

“We’ll probably stop seating at about 10 o clock, last call 10:30, and at 11 o clock it’s gotta be empty,” Farrell said.

Farrell said sales could take a 10 percent cut for the week.

Across town, the bars are blocked and the doors are closing an hour early at Mac’s Speed Shop.

Mac's Hospitality Group president Shang Skipper believes this latest restriction could have been avoided.

“They could have probably cracked down on the few bad actors and kept it open for all of us,” Skipper said.

The bad actors he’s referring to are the bars and restaurants that are not enforcing social distancing.

Restaurants like 5Church in uptown closed voluntarily, saying in a statement posted to social media that “there is no cogent plan from any local, state or federal officials for the safe and solvent operation of a restaurant in North Carolina.”

Skipper hopes with the latest restrictions, law enforcement shows up.

“If they follow through on their commitment which was to use the police force, ABC and ALE to enforce it, then it can make a difference, but if they don’t enforce it we’re gonna be here again in two weeks,” he said.

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