Drinks-to-go executive order gets mixed reviews from N.C. restaurant, bar owners

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- After more than a week of being permitted to sell drinks to go, business owners are getting mixed reviews from the Order's bottom line.

On December 21, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper signed an Executive Order authorizing the North Carolina ABC Commission to permit the delivery or carry-out of mixed beverages as an alternative to on-site consumption.

"The order will help people avoid settings that can contribute to increased viral spread while giving restaurants and bars a financial boost that they need right now," Cooper said.

After more than a week of the Order in place Todd Harr, owner of 22 Klicks Bar and Grill in Hope Mills has opted out of cocktail delivery due to the potential extra liability but plans to continue with to-go drinks with extra precautions in place even though the concept is off to a slow start at his business.

"We have had a few customers so far but not a lot," Harr said. "Each to-go cup has to have a label that says 'can't be possessed by consumed by and sold to anyone under the age of 21' then the amount of liquor the type of liquor and then a tamper seal over the top so that to get the drink open you have to get a straw through that seal," Harr added.

In Fayetteville, at Izzy's Sports Bar, owner Brian Thompson says the struggle he has felt from the restrictions brought on by COVID-19 make the option of delivery or to-go beverages costly and ineffective.

"To give them one beer and for a twelve-pack, it would be 25-30 bucks so it just doesn't make any financial sense for the customer or for the bar," Thompson explained. While every sale counts to help the hard-hit bar and restaurant industry recover, owners like Tod Harr aren't sure if it will be enough. "If it became common practice, I think we would continue to provide the service even though I don't see a lot of customers taking advantage of it," Harr said. "People are social creatures. Our customer base likes to come and be around other people," Harr added.

The Executive Order is in effect until January 31, 2021, while the Modified Stay-at-Home Order remains in effect and the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption must still cease at 9 pm.
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