Raleigh to ban alcohol sales after 11 pm next week to slow spread of coronavirus
Posted July 17, 2020 1:45 p.m. EDT
Updated July 18, 2020 9:08 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Restaurants in Raleigh will ve required to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. sometime next week, Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said Friday.
This new requirement is to try and limit the spread of coronavirus in crowded restaurant. The virus can spread easily in closed environments where people are not wearing face mask.
A formal order is expected to go into effect on Monday, Baldwin said.
Some restaurant in the Glenwood South neighborhood, including Hibernian Pub and Southern Charred, voluntarily made an early last call Friday night.
The Glenwood South district has become a focal point for Raleigh's pandemic efforts. Last month, Baldwin mandated that people cover their faces in public in the city after seeing crowds of young people not following social distancing guidelines in restaurants along Glenwood Avenue.
"Our restaurants have really gone through some terrible times, and you get to the point where you reopen, but things aren't going well," Baldwin said. "The numbers are not going, the trends are not going the way we want to see them."
Nearly 8,400 people in Wake County have been infected by coronavirus to date, and 86 have died. The state continues to set new records in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19.
Baldwin worked with restaurant owners this week on the proposal.
"We want to do what's right for the community," said Carlos Rivers, hospitality director for Hibernian Pub.
Although he's frustrated by having to cut back even more – restaurants are already limited to 50 percent capacity – Rivers said it's important to lower the spread of the virus because not doing so could lead to even more restrictions.
"It's more important to us to lose these couple hours right now than it is to possibly shut down altogether," he said. "We're not sure we could afford another shutdown and be able to reopen after that."
Enforcing the mask requirement and maintaining social distancing inside the restaurant gets more difficult later at night, he added.
Raleigh would follow the lead of Orange County, which last week ordered restaurants to stop serving alcohol and close their dining rooms at 10 p.m.
County officials said that they had reports specifically of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students packing into restaurants late into the night.
South Carolina also has a booze ban in effect. Restaurants throughout the entire state are required to stop selling alcohol after 11 p.m.