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Mooresville, Salisbury launch downtown social districts

The two towns are some of the latest to hop on the statewide trend of allowing patrons to take alcoholic beverages to go.

SALISBURY, N.C. — While Charlotte’s plans for social districts are on pause for now, Mooresville and Salisbury are some of the latest to launch open container areas in downtown districts. It’s a trend several North Carolina cities and towns are hopping on after the state law passed in September 2021.

Salisbury’s entire downtown area is a designated social district that took effect July 1. Patrons can take their favorite cocktail or beer to go from participating restaurants and bars from noon to midnight seven days a week.

Thomas White was enjoying a pineapple IPA from a nearby taproom while sitting in a Salisbury park with friends Friday. 

“It’s very wonderful,” White told WCNC Charlotte as he sipped from his plastic cup. He hopes more towns and cities join the growing trend.

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While the districts give people a fun way to shake up their night out, small businesses are benefiting as well. City Tavern Salisbury manager Jeff Shuping said he’s seen a lot of new faces since the district launched, which means more sales. 

“Everything so far has been really smooth,” Shuping said.

Under state law, cups must be marked with the patron’s name, where they got it from, and are not allowed outside district lines.

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Mooresville’s social district policy went into effect July 11, but the downtown district won’t officially open until next weekend, according to Justin Zalewski, owner of Murto Made Distillery.

He shared that they’re finalizing a few details so all the participating businesses can launch at the same time. 

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We’re looking forward to actually connecting all our businesses downtown and being partners of our retail as well,” Zalewski said.

Mooresville’s social district will be open from noon to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Kannapolis, Hickory, Cornelius, and Monroe also have social districts and are reporting positive experiences but so far have no numbers or growth statistics to share yet.

Contact Julia Kauffman at jkauffman@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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