North Carolina will ban the sale of alcohol after 11 pm

Alcohol sales in North Carolina restaurants will be banned after 11 pm, Governor Roy Cooper (D) announced Tuesday.

Cooper said the curfew will take effect on July 31, calling it a necessary step to avoid night crowds that are a particularly risky environment for the spread of the coronavirus. While bars are closed due to the pandemic, he said, some restaurants essentially function as bars later in the evening.

“We want to prevent restaurants from becoming bars after hours,” Cooper said, according to a local ABC affiliate. “We hope this new rule can help reduce cases.”

Retailers that sell alcohol for consumption elsewhere, such as supermarkets and convenience stores, will not be subject to the order, the governor said.

“It’s about trying to help people make better decisions now that we’re in this emergency situation,” said Pamela Tragenstein of the UNC Gillings School of Public Health, saying that the bars functioned as “super spreaders.”

The city of Raleigh imposed a similar order in early July, according to the channel.

“Let’s face it, when people consume alcohol they are not making good decisions,” said Mayor Mary Ann Baldwin (D). “Not all, but some, so we just want to reduce that risk and do it responsibly.”

Sean Umstead, the owner of Kingfisher in Durham, said he agreed that the order was necessary for public health, but said the state should consider allowing alcohol transportation.

“While I agree with the decisions of public health officials, I think bringing cocktails to go and fixing our unemployment program for vulnerable people working in this industry are two really important and direct ways to mitigate this disaster,” Umstead , whose restaurant closed on March 15, told the store.

“We need real solutions,” he continued. “I appreciate the decisive action that Governor Cooper and public health officials are taking on that front, but we need decisive action to give us the means.”