North Carolina joins South Carolina, Florida in cracking down on bars to stop coronavirus spread

Governors both Republican and Democrat have enacted curfews

North Carolina is joining its neighbor South Carolina in placing an 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales at restaurants starting Friday as the state reports more than 1,800 coronavirus deaths.

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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's executive order places a curfew on alcohol sales in restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries.

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"This will be particularly important as colleges and universities are scheduled to start, bringing people all over the country to our state," Cooper, a Democrat, said in a statement Tuesday. "We have seen case numbers increase among younger people, and prevention is critical to slowing the spread of the virus."

A bartender pours a drink. (iStock)

The order doesn't affect alcohol sales in grocery stores or other locations permitted to sell alcohol for off-site consumption.

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Some bars have decided to pivot, including cocktail bar Kingfisher in Durham, North Carolina. Kingfisher's owners have decided to rebrand as a burger joint after shuttering in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, The News & Observer reported.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, implemented a similar alcohol sales curfew on July 11.

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“We know that young adults who are rapidly contracting the virus and spreading it into our communities frequently congregate in late-night atmospheres which simply are not conducive to stopping its continued transmission,” McMaster said in a statement.  “This measured, carefully tailored approach will lessen the opportunity for South Carolinians to put themselves and their loved ones in harm’s way.”

Farther south, Florida is brainstorming how to reopen bars after the Department of Business and Professional Regulation suspended on-site consumption of alcohol at bars statewide in late June.

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