RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper announced a statewide curfew on alcohol sales at restaurants will go into effect on Friday.

Restraurants will be unable to sell alcohol after 11 p.m.

The governor said the curfew is an effort to keep restaurants from becoming bars after hours.

“We’re hoping this new rule can drive down cases – particularly in young people,” Cooper said.

Several places across the state already had alcohol sales limits like Raleigh and Orange County.

After dropping and remaining near level for a few days, COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Carolina jumped to an all-time high on Tuesday.

Cooper says that with the closure of bars in NC, he doesn’t want to see restaurants turn into bars after hours.

The governor’s office released the following statement on Tuesday about the curfew of alcohol sales:

“With actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 beginning to have impact, Governor Roy Cooper is doubling down on prevention measures with Executive Order 153 stopping the sale of alcoholic drinks in restaurants, breweries, wineries, and distilleries at 11 pm. North Carolina bars that are currently closed will remain closed. This order will take effect Friday, July 31.

‘Slowing the spread of this virus requires targeted strategies that help lower the risk of transmission,’ said Governor Cooper. ‘This will be particularly important as colleges and universities are scheduled to start, bringing people all over the country to our state. We have seen case numbers increase among younger people, and prevention is critical to slowing the spread of the virus.’

The order will not apply to grocery stores, convenience stores, or other entities permitted to sell alcohol for off-premises consumption. Local governments that have implemented orders that end alcohol sales before 11 pm or that apply to other entities remain in effect.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said important COVID-19 tracking metrics are stable but not where she would like them to be.

“Seeing glimmers of potential progress does not mean we can let up – it means it’s time to double down,” said Cohen. “The positive signs in our trends should only strengthen our resolve to keep at it with those 3 Ws. Wear a face covering, wait six feet apart, and wash your hands often.”

The trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over the last 14 days is still high but leveling.

The rate of tests returning positive is starting to decline – from 10 percent to 8 percent – but Cohen said she would like to see it around 5 percent.

A couple of hours earlier, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced an executive order tightening restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 including cutting off sales of alcohol statewide at 10 p.m. beginning Friday.

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