North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says restaurants will have to stop selling alcohol at 11 p.m. starting Friday. It's the latest restriction Cooper's administration has enacted in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the state.
South Carolina enacted a similar alcohol curfew July 10. Several local governments in North Carolina have also put similar restrictions in place, including Charlotte and several Mecklenburg County municipalities. Under North Carolina's current level of COVID-19 safety restrictions, bars are closed but restaurants that serve alcohol can be open as long as social distancing measures are in place.
"The bar scene has been a place where we've seen increased transmission," Cooper said Tuesday. "... We're getting some reports about some restaurants that essentially turn into bars late at night, where people are less socially distant and less sitting at tables and more milling about and up at the bar."
Cooper's order doesn't apply to stores, and any local alcohol-sale curfews that start earliert than 11 p.m. will remain in place.
State Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said the fact that colleges are starting back in various capacities in the coming months was also a factor. She also said the rate of coronavirus infections was "leveling" in the state.
As of Tuesday, the state health department was reporting 116,087 cases of the virus that have been confirmed by laboratory testing. At least 1,820 North Carolinians have died from COVID-19 complications. Statewide, 1,244 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning.
As of Monday, the latest day for which estimates are available, the state health department estimated that 92,302 North Carolinians had recovered from COVID-19, which would have been about 81% of the total number of laboratory-confirmed infections at the time.
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