Executive order allows for carry out, delivery of mixed alcoholic drinks

Sugar House bartender Shelby Minnix creates a Lavender Lemonade cocktail in a to-go bottle, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in Detroit. At least 33 states and the District of Columbia are temporarily allowing cocktails to-go during the pandemic, up from around three before the coronavirus struck. Dave Kwiatkowski, who owns the Sugar House was able to reopen July 10 for carryout service. Kwiatkowski normally employs a staff of 16, but for now, it's just him at the door and a bartender making drinks. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

RALEIGH – Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order allowing restaurants and bars the option to sell mixed alcoholic beverages for carry out or delivery. The order became effective at 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21.

“This 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,” said Gov. Cooper. “With cases and hospitalizations high around the country, let’s all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 while supporting local, small businesses safely.”

Establishments holding certain permits from the N.C. ABC Commission including restaurants, hotels, private clubs, private bars, and some distilleries, are now allowed to sell mixed beverages to-go or for delivery.

The order is temporary and is set to expire on Jan. 31, 2021. Language in the order says the secretary of Health and Human Services may reimpose any legal or regulatory constraints waived under enforcement of the order.

The establishments are allowed to sell until their closing time, avoiding the 9 p.m. cutoff currently imposed under the stay-at-home order.

In addition to those rules, the order also states that only one drink per person can be ordered at one time. Multiple people can place an order together but each must be present to receive the beverages.

Cooper sought concurrence of the Council of State for this order in contrast to most other COVID-related orders since March.

The General Assembly considered a measure during the spring to allow for to-go mixed drinks but it ultimately was not included in the state’s COVID relief package. However, Cooper’s order comes eight months after those talks failed. 31 states have allowed the to-go option since the beginning of the pandemic according to an Associated Press analysis.