NC Sheriff’s Association: Governor’s alcohol to-go order at odds with state statues

FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2020, file photo, patrons enjoy food and drink at The Brass Rail in Hoboken, N.J. School systems in several states are giving up on in-person classes, and some governors are reimposing restrictions on bars and restaurants or getting more serious about masks, as the coast-to-coast resurgence of the coronavirus sends deaths, hospitalizations and new infections soaring. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday, Nov. 12, he will sign an executive order to give towns and cities the option to limit hours at non-essential businesses after 8 p.m. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

RALEIGH — A memo sent to members of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association (NCSA) indicates that the governor’s recent executive order permitting “to-go” or carryout sales of alcoholic beverages is not in line with state statutes.

“Executive Order No. 183 says that it will allow, if approved by the Chair of the ABC Commission, for the carry-out sale (“to-go”) or delivery of mixed alcoholic beverages in a sealed container.

However, current State law does not authorize mixed alcoholic beverages to be sold for carry-out,” the memo reads.

“Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute § 18B-1001(10), mixed beverage permit holders are not authorized to sell mixed beverages as a carry-out item to customers even if they are sold and transported off-premises in a sealed container.”

The memo, penned by Eddie Caldwell, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the NCSA, goes on to say, “We are not aware of and have not found any legal authority that would authorize an override of this State law prohibition by the Governor or by the Chair of the ABC Commission (even if directed to do so by the Governor).”

Caldwell tells North State Journal there are two statutes the order possibly runs afoul of. The first is the aforementioned § 18B-1001(10) and the second, involving the transportation of liquor, is described further down in the memo. Current state statute doesn’t allow for the transportation of any type of liquor in the passenger area of a vehicle in any container other than the unopened original manufacturer’s container.

“We are not aware of and have not found any legal authority that would authorize an override by the Governor or the Chair of the ABC Commission (even if directed to do so by the Governor) of the statutory prohibition against transporting any spirituous liquor in the passenger area of a motor vehicle in anything other than the manufacturer’s unopened original container,” states the memo.

Caldwell confirmed that any container used to transport alcohol other than the unopened original container would have to be placed in either the trunk of the vehicle or, in the case of a minivan, behind the last passenger seat.

About A.P. Dillon 409 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_