CORNELIUS, N.C. — The Cornelius Town Board unanimously passed a temporary ordinance this week allowing for a "social district" along a stretch of Catawba Avenue. It means those of legal drinking age could drink alcohol outside businesses and restaurants.
If things go well, leaders say it could lead to more permanent changes or could return for other major events.
The Lake Norman Social District will run along a small stretch of Catawba Avenue between Thigs and Old Town Public House. It will be in place for St. Patrick's Day on Thursday, March 17, from noon to 10 p.m.
Cornelius leaders said they're using St. Patrick's Day as a trial run for the social district.
Social districts are now legal in North Carolina due to House Bill 890, signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper in 2021. Several North Carolina cities, including Asheville and Kannapolis, have already implemented social districts.
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Cornelius officials said it has the potential to give businesses in the area a big boost.
The Lake Norman Social District ordinance does have some rules, though. No glass containers are allowed, drinks can't be more than 16 fluid ounces, and all cups must have a Lake Norman Social District logo on them. Officials said enforcing the boundaries of the social district will be a partnership between local businesses and police.