Beginning Thursday, July 23, restaurants and other businesses are prohibited from selling beer, wine, or liquor after 11 p.m. The restrictions apply to the unincorporated parts of Mecklenburg County, the city of Charlotte, and the towns of Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville, and Davidson. Violators of the county order could be charged with a class-2 misdemeanor. Local law enforcement agencies will enforce the order, which will be in effective until 5 p.m. on Friday, August 7. The order could be rescinded earlier or extended past that date, depending on Mecklenburg County coronavirus-transmission data.
Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said the alcohol-ban proclamation was spurred by videos shot in area restaurants and bars showing late-night customers not wearing masks and not practicing social distancing, as required.
“It is unfortunate that we must take these steps due to the poor decisions by some bad actors,” Diorio said during a news conference. “We hope that by taking this step we can begin to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
Under the new order, restaurants’ food sales will also be affected. While restaurants may continue offering food delivery or pick-up after 11 p.m., they may no longer serve on-site customers between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. The new order also prohibits restaurants from allowing customers to eat or drink while standing or sitting at bar counters. Games that involve sharing equipment, like pool, darts, and pinball machines, are also prohibited until August 7. The business restrictions outlined in the proclamation include:
The restrictions do not apply to alcohol sold at convenience or grocery stores, wine and liquor stores, or retail business.
South Carolina’s Governor Henry McMaster issued a similar ban on late-night alcohol sales to quell that state’s uptick in COVID-19 cases. That prohibition took effect on Saturday, July 11, 2020.