RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - Governor Roy Cooper signed an Executive Order Monday directing the Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) Commission to waive state regulations, thereby allowing sale of to-go mixed alcoholic beverages effective December 21 through the end of January.
“This order will help people avoid settings that can contribute to increased viral spread while giving restaurants and bars a financial boost that they need right now,” said Governor Cooper. “With cases and hospitalizations high around the country, let’s all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 while supporting local, small businesses safely.”
This Executive Order allows establishments that hold certain permits from the ABC Commission, like restaurants, hotels, private clubs, private bars and distilleries, to sell mixed alcoholic beverages for consumption off premises in accordance with the restrictions outlined in the Order. Establishments must also comply with any additional restrictions applied by the ABC Commission.
The proposal limits customers to one drink per person per order and each person who will consume the drink needs to be present to receive the delivery. The Order still requires people buying and consuming alcoholic beverages to be at least 21 years old. No orders will be accepted from higher education residence halls or from anyone who is already intoxicated.
The decision was made based on data that show people congregating in bars for food and drinks increases the risk of transmission compared with delivery services that are mostly cashless and many have contact-free delivery. Allowing to-go service for alcoholic beverages encourages people to socialize at home while still supporting establishments that have been impacted by pandemic restrictions and provides them with a much-needed revenue source.
WECT reached out to some bar owners in downtown Wilmington to find out how this would be implemented and Doc Thomas, bar manager at Dior’s in downtown Wilmington says he’s taking lessons from other states like Louisiana and Texas that allow drive-thru alcohol sales.
“The only question I guess we have is there’s obviously a no-open container situation that goes on in City of Wilmington and throughout the state of North Carolina, so we are going to seal the containers with lids, we’re going to tape anything that could be readily consumed off the premises, and so that’s the way we’re going to handle it,” said Thomas.
The conditions of the recently issued modified stay at home order still apply in that sale of alcohol for on-site consumption by permitted establishments must end at 9 p.m. each night. Orders for off-site consumption may continue until the business closes.
See below for the full Executive Order.