CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Wednesday was the last night you could sit at a bar and have a drink in parts of Mecklenburg County. Starting Thursday, all restaurants that serve alcohol will have to close by 11 p.m. under a new order, selling takeout and delivery only, under a new order from the county and several towns.
It also bans the use of bars at any time, meaning you can no longer sit or stand at them for any reason.
The order is receiving backlash from some local businesses, though, that will be hit financially for at least a couple weeks.
"It's frustrating," said Courtney Nesmith, operating partner for Roy's Kitchen and Patio in NoDa.
He said alcohol sales are 70% of the business, and he will likely lose roughly $20,000 every weekend of the order that, for now, will last through August 7.
"Us losing that, especially during the heightened hours of 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., is a huge hit for us," Nesmith said.
County officials said the order comes after several controversial videos surfaced showing some nightclubs and restaurants packed with people on weekends.
"This revised proclamation is designed to put a stop to the behaviors we have seen in recent weeks where we have seen videos of establishments where patrons are not wearing masks and social distancing has been nonexistent," said Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio.
Nesmith was discouraged by the videos. He understands why the county is implementing the order but said he believes people will turn to house parties that "don't end."
He now wonders if his two-week-old restaurant will stay afloat.
"I hope we will survive," he said. "I don't know, it's questionable right now."
The order also bans the use of shared games like pool tables, darts, and others.
CMPD said, again, they will give warnings before citations as they have with previous orders.
The only two towns that did not sign this order are Cornelius and Huntersville.