People speak out after alcohol sales end at 10 p.m. in Orange County

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — It was a quieter scene than normal in Chapel Hill Friday night as a new mandate prevents bars and restaurants across Orange County from selling alcohol or having in-person dining after 10 p.m.

It’s a move county leaders hope will help slow COVID-19 cases — and some people agree.

“People are just out and about because they started opening things back up. They’re not conscious of the virus anymore they’re going out sharing drinks and socializing so I think it’s good they cut down on that to try to cut down COVID,” said Martin Ross, a Chapel Hill resident. 

Linda’s Bar and Grill just reopened last month, now they’re faced with this new challenge for their business. 

“Our largest profit margin comes from alcohol sales, so we kind of rely on those,” said Justin Cole, bar manager Linda’s Bar and Grill. “There’s already not that much business coming in and for our hours to be cut even shorter it’s frustrating. We won’t be able to generate as much profit later in the night. We’re just doing our best to roll with the punches.”

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Linda’s Bar and Grill will now close at 10 p.m. instead of midnight, saying they can’t justify the labor cost of staying open two additional hours for only take-out and delivery services. 

The mandate comes as COVID-19 cases in the county have tripled since Memorial Day.

Chapel Hill’s mayor released a statement saying in part “By working together our community will get through this and come out stronger.”

The businesses don’t see things going back to normal anytime soon but say they’re doing their best to adapt. 

County leaders are also asking that outdoor gatherings be limited to just 25 people, which is already a state mandate.

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