Governor Roy Cooper banned the sale of alcoholic beverages at restaurants and breweries Tuesday in an effort to combat the state’s ever-growing number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Bars, which are already closed, will remain shuttered. 

The curfew goes into place starting this Friday and will prohibit alcohol sales after 11 p.m. 

“Slowing the spread of this virus requires targeted strategies that help lower the risk of transmission,” Cooper said at a Tuesday press conference. “We want to prevent restaurants from turning into bars after hours.”

The order applies to all restaurants, breweries, wineries, and distilleries. Grocery and convenience stores that sell alcohol for off-site consumption will not be affected by the curfew. Similar measures have already been implemented in several cities, including Raleigh, Charlotte, and Chapel Hill. 

“This will be particularly important as colleges and universities are scheduled to start, bringing people all over the country to our state,” Cooper said. “We have seen case numbers increase among younger people, and prevention is critical to slowing the spread of the virus.”

As of Tuesday, North Carolina has reported more than 116,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus, with 1,749 new cases identified since yesterday. More than 1,200 people are currently hospitalized with the virus and 1,820 people have died. 

While trends appear to be in the early stages of stabilizing according to Mandy Cohen, secretary for the Department of Healthy and Human Services, “seeing glimmers of potential progress does not mean we can let up—it means it’s time to double down.” 

“There is no one and done with this virus,” Cohen said. “It takes consistent and ongoing work to slow the spread of COVID-19.” 

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