Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board restricts alcohol sales to fight COVID-19

Coronavirus

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WKRG) — The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted Monday morning to restrict alcohol sales in the state’s bars and restaurants. The board held an emergency meeting during which they voted to order bars and restaurants to stop selling alcohol at 11:00 PM. All alcohol must be consumed by 11:30 pm. Bars and restaurants will be able to stay open after that time, but patrons will not be able to drink.

The move, hitting downtown Mobile businesses.

“We understand that COVID is a serious issue, we respect that issue, we’ve been doing everything we possibly can in the bar industry I feel to prevent the spread – but a majority of our money is made after 11 p.m.,” said Delane Bond, co-owner of Haley’s Bar. “Truly just trying to stay afloat and keep the families fed that we’re responsible for, but I hope the state would come together and decide that – because you’re choosing to have us close down, you would give us some funding.”

On the other side of the bay, most Eastern Shore bars close earlier, so workers there were bracing for much worse.

“Our late night bar typically closes around midnight during the week and, you know, it could have been a lot worse, and it may affect sales a little bit – but it’s temporary, so we’re optimistic about it,” said Savannah Robinson, front of the house manager at Dragonfly and Flybar in Fairhope.

FULL UNEDITED PRESS RELEASE:

(MONTGOMERY, AL – July 27, 2020)  Out of concern for the health and safety of the general public, licensees and other key stakeholders, the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board today approved an emergency order that limits the hours of operations for restaurants, bars and other entities that sell alcohol.

Daily COVID-19 cases in the state continue to climb, with almost 3,000 new cases reported this past weekend.

“The primary mission of the Alabama ABC Board is to protect the health, safety and welfare of our citizens and we take this mission very seriously,” said ABC Board Chairperson Col. Alan Spencer. “We are very sensitive to the economic impact this rule will have. This is a gut-wrenching decision we are making today, but it is also gut-wrenching to see the number of Alabamians who are suffering from this disease. On balance, I am compelled to vote in favor of the rule. This will be a very short duration and will relieve this restriction as soon as possible.”

The emergency rule is effective immediately, but will not be enforced until Saturday, August 1, 2020. Beginning at 11:00 p.m. Saturday, all ABC licensees are required to cease the service and/or sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. with on-premise consumption to end at 11:30 p.m.

Many states, citing rising COVID-19 cases, already have closed bars or imposed other limits, such as banning on-premises drinking, at businesses that sell alcohol. By adopting this emergency rule, the ABC Board is ensuring customers and businesses the ability to continue operating in a semi-normal fashion by reducing the hours of on-premises alcohol service.

It is widely believed that alcohol consumption reduces Inhibitions. After consuming alcoholic beverages individuals are less likely to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines, including the wearing of masks and social distancing, potentially increasing the transmission of COVID-19.

“Our hope is that reduced hours of alcohol service will decrease social gatherings and the transmission of COVID-19,” said ABC Board Administrator Mac Gipson. “Our number one goal is to protect the public and our license holders. We believe this emergency order will reduce the exposure to and spread of COVID-19.”

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