Governor Roy Cooper on Tuesday announced a new Executive Order that will halt all alcohol sales after 11 p.m. statewide at restaurants.
It will go into effect on July 31.
The curfew, according to the governor, is especially critical to reducing late-night crowds and limiting mass gatherings, even at restaurants which by previous orders cannot exceed 50 percent capacity. Even with bars closed however, many establishments that meet a certain threshold of food sales to stay open turn into de facto bars in twilight hours.
"We want to prevent restaurants from turning into bars after hours," Cooper said. "We're hopeful that this new rule can help drive down cases."
Cooper's order will not apply to grocery stores, convenience stores or other entities permitted to sell alcohol for off-premises consumption.
The City of Raleigh instituted a similar mandate earlier this month.
"Let's face it, when people consume alcohol they're not making good choices," Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin said. "Not everybody, but some, so we just want to reduce that risk and do so in a responsible way."
Orange County also announced that it would be limiting alcohol sales and in-person dining at restaurants as early as 10 p.m. Mecklenburg County, the second-largest North Carolina county, is finalizing its proclamation on an alcohol sales cutoff at restaurants.
Per the new order, local ordinances can mandate an earlier last call.
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