Raleigh restaurant owners react to Gov. Cooper extending 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The ban on late-night alcohol sales at restaurants in North Carolina will continue through the beginning of October. It was set to expire Monday night, but the governor extended the order late Monday afternoon.

“Business is down significantly,” said Greg Hatem, the owner of Empire Eats. “People aren’t comfortable going out. Some people aren’t even comfortable even getting to go still.”

Empire Eats owns several popular eateries. Among them is the Raleigh Times. He said business is down about 50% from this same time last year.

“Fortunately, we’ve been able to do a lot more takeout and delivery,” he said.

Then the latest development: Gov. Roy Cooper extending his ban on late-night alcohol sales at restaurants. They have to stop selling those adult beverages at 11 p.m. It went into effect July 31 and will now continue through Oct. 2.

“Now is the time to continue staying cautious and vigilant as we work to beat this pandemic,” Cooper said in a release.

“I know our staff is thankful because they don’t want to be out later,” Hatem said. “As the night goes on later and people drink a little bit more, people get careless.”

Lori Grow, a server at a local restaurant, disagreed.

“People are being responsible enough,” she said. “They don’t need to continue to do that.”

Grow said it was hurting an already struggling industry.

“It does effect sales. It does effect businesses, unfortunately,” she said.

As for Hatem, he’s keeping his eye on the big picture.

“The goal is to manage our businesses to get to next summer. The projections seem to be that we’re doing that,” he said.

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