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July 21, 2020

Mecklenburg County to prohibit bar seating, service after 11 p.m.

The move comes after images of packed bars flood social media


According to an email sent by the Town of Davidson to businesses on Tuesday and announced by Mecklenburg County on Wednesday, restaurant service must end at 11 p.m. and seating and standing in bar areas is prohibited beginning July 23. The changes come as an amendment to the state’s Executive Order 147, which announced the extension of the second phase of North Carolina’s reopening. 

According to the language sent by the Town of Davidson, restaurants that do not serve alcohol can continue to operate under previous Covid-19 guidelines, but restaurants and private clubs serving food and alcohol will be required to close for dine-in service at 11 p.m. Outdoor seating is included in the 11 p.m. cutoff, but delivery and drive-through may continue. It also states restaurants, breweries, wine shops, bars, and other establishments serving alcohol cannot do so for onsite consumption between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Restaurants and bars also “shall not allow patrons to touch shared surfaces such as bar counters or game equipment,” prohibiting seating at bars. 

The number of Covid-19 cases in the state continue to rise, particularly among young people. The order comes after images on social media continually showed bars in Charlotte, many in South End, packed with people.

This order will mostly affect operations at those establishments, as few restaurants in Charlotte operate table service after 11 p.m. Events of more than 25 people are also prohibited. See the entire amendment below.

i.   Restaurants serving only food and non-alcoholic beverages may continue to operate during advertised hours provided all requirements for social distancing and mask wearing are followed; and

ii.  Restaurants and private clubs serving food and alcohol shall be closed to the onsite consumption of food and beverages and no customers shall be present for the onsite consumption of food or beverages between the hours of 11:00 pm and 5:00 am; and        

iii.  Restaurants may continue to offer drive through, delivery, and/or pick-up services between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am; and 

iiii.  Restaurants, breweries, wine shops, private clubs, bars, and any other business or organization that are permitted to sell alcohol for onsite consumption may not sell alcohol between the hours of 11:00 pm and 7:00 am and no customers shall be  present for onsite consumption of alcohol between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am; and

v. Restaurants, private clubs and other food and beverage service businesses may not provide onsite outdoor table service for the consumption of food or alcoholic beverages in Mecklenburg County, City of Charlotte, Towns of Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, or Mint Hill  between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am; and 

vi.  Restaurants, private clubs, bars and other food and beverage service businesses shall not allow sitting or standing at bars for food and beverage consumption and shall not allow patrons to touch shared surfaces such as bar counters or game equipment such as pool tables, darts pinball machines, or any other such game equipment that requires social touching of the game equipment; and

vii.  All outdoor activities, gatherings, or events of more than twenty-five (25) people are prohibited. 

viii.  Worship services, religious and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, and gatherings for health and safety, for work, to obtain food, or to obtain government services are exempt from this section. 

—Kristen Wile

Posted in: Latest Updates, News
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