Governor Cooper has been busy issuing more COVID-19 executive orders (EOs), among other things (like winning re-election, if you’ve been hiding out in a cave or something), and he’s saved the best for last! But first, we’ll bring you up to speed on the food, beverage, and night life related EOs since our last blog post:
*EO 169 – Initiated Phase 3, expanding ability for bars, non-bar night spots, and venues to operate.
*EO 170 – Extends Phase 3 to 11/13/20.
*EO 176 – Extends Phase 3 to 12/4/20, changes the definition of “mass gathering” to reduce the number of people that can congregate indoors together.
*EO 180 – Added additional circumstances in which people are required to wear face coverings in public places, both indoors and outdoors. Authorizes law enforcement to issue citations to individuals and business not complying with masking requirements.
*EO 181 – Extends Phase 3 through 1/8/21, including the requirements in EO 176 and EO 180. Imposes a statewide stay at home order from 10p-5a (essential workers excepted and those picking up food or essentials at restaurants and/or certain retail stores). Restaurant dining rooms must be closed after 10p, except for takeout, curbside, and delivery service. Retail businesses selling groceries, medication, fuel, or health care supplies may remain open after 10p. Alcohol sales must end at 9pm for on-site consumption.
The full listing of Governor Cooper’s EOs can be found here.
Executive Order 183
On December 21, 2020, Governor Cooper issued EO 183, intended to encourage additional delivery and carry-out services as a means of reducing COVID-19 transmission in North Carolina. Specifically, it authorizes and instructs the Chair of the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage and Control Commission (“ABC Commission”) to temporarily allow certain mixed beverage permittees (“Permitted Sellers”) to sell and deliver mixed beverages for off-site consumption (“to go”), with limitations. EO 183 is effective December 21, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. through January 31, 2021 at 5:00 p.m., unless otherwise modified or extended.
“Permitted Sellers” includes restaurants, hotels, private clubs, private bars, and holders of distillery permits, and EO 183 sets out terms and conditions for Permitted Sellers who sell mixed beverages to-go, individuals and businesses that deliver mixed beverages to-go (“Deliverers”) and consumers who purchase mixed beverages to-go (“Purchasers”). Permitted Sellers, Deliverers, and Purchasers must follow the applicable restrictions in EO 183 and any additional guidance established by the ABC Commission pertaining to the sale, delivery, and transport of mixed beverages to-go.
Here are some key take-a-ways from EO 183, and some other observations:
- COVID-19 remains a very serious illness, as record-high numbersof confirmed tests and hospitalizations are still being reported in North Carolina. EO183 is the latest effort to minimize the time spent and maximize the distance between people in situations involving close proximity (like bars, restaurants, etc).
- Mixed beverage to-go sales are intended to add much needed additional revenue opportunities for Permitted Sellers.
- Individuals over the age of 21 may purchase 1 mixed beverage to-go at a time.This doesn’t mean that deliveries of mixed beverages are limited to 1 per household, as there may be multiple people 21 or over at that location who each order a mixed beverage.
- Mixed beverage to-go sales need not be accompanied by food sales.So, those thirsty folks out there needing their evening cocktail can just order one of those with no fries, hummus, or crackers.
- Individuals over the age of 21 may enter a Permitted Seller’s premises to pick up the mixed beverages, so long as they are not visibly intoxicated and observing the mask mandate. However, 1 person can only pick up 1 mixed beverage at a time.
- The mixed beverage(s) must be kept in a sealed container in the passenger area of a vehicle, just like a beer growler pick-up. Drinking in your car = NOT O.K.!
- Leaving your house to pick up mixed beverages during the stay-at-home period (10p-5a) = O.K.!
- You can take your mixed beverage home with you (properly sealed, of course), if you don’t finish it by curfew time.
- Permitted Sellers may sell mixed beverages to-go past 10p up to 2am (or the time otherwise set by the Permitted Seller or applicable local ordinance, whichever is earlier), but may not continue selling for on-site consumption.
- The mixed beverage to-go item sealed container cannot be larger than 750 milliliters and must contain no more than the standard size of a mixed beverage drink.
- Deliverers must have written authorization to deliver on behalf of a Permitted Seller.
- Payment for the mixed beverage must be pre-paid, and the Deliverer cannot receive payment. However, the Deliverer may receive a tip.
- Deliverers must verify the age of Purchasers at the point of delivery.
- Deliverers may refuse delivery to a visibly intoxicated Purchaser.
For more information on EO 183, check out the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA) helpful FAQs found here.
Updated: December 21, 2020