Governor says state must prevent restaurants from turning into “bars after hours.”
Bars will remain closed, and restaurants will be prohibited from selling alcohol after 11 p.m. Friday under a new executive order handed down Tuesday (today). The new rule came down as the state’s Department of Health and Human Services Secretary (DHHS) announced cautiously optimistic news about the pandemic.
Gov. Roy Cooper made the announcement during a COVID-19 press conference.
While bars were already closed, Cooper said there is still a need to reduce the number of people congregating in restaurants. A number of local governments across the state had already followed the lead of other states, and shut down alcohol sales.
“Public health experts and examples from other states show that bars and other places where people gather closely together are a high-transmission setting. We want to prevent restaurants from turning into bars after (regular) hours,” Cooper said. “we’re hopeful this will help drive down new cases.”
Dr. Mandy Cohen of the DHHS said that North Carolina is showing some signs of stabilizing, but hospitalizations are still high. The number of patients going to emergency rooms for COVID-19 symptoms is beginning to level off, after days of rising, as is the trajectory of lab-confirmed cases. Official positive test results are also declining, she said, but the rate is still above five percent.