The below guidance was issued on May 24th and updated on July 2nd to remind restaurants that food must be available at all times that alcoholic beverages are being served. (14B NCAC 15B.0105)
ABC Commission Guidance – Executive Order 141
Some restaurants call themselves "breweries" or "bars"; some breweries call themselves "restaurants" or "bars"; and some bars call themselves "restaurants" or "breweries." As a result, we have received questions about how to interpret whether an establishment is within the Executive Order's definition of "bar" and must remain closed.
The following are categories of establishments that are exempt from the closure order, and so may legally operate now, if fully compliant with applicable safety guidelines (Section 6, Executive Order 141). This guidance does not override any order from Governor Cooper, the NC Department of Health and Human Services, any ABC laws or regulations, or any local ordinances.
Excluded from definition of Bar:
An establishment shall not be deemed "principally engaged in the business of selling alcoholic beverages for onsite consumption" (and thus may be open under Executive Order No. 141) if it meets one of the following tests:
Included within definition of Restaurant:
Certain Private Clubs and Members-only Clubs may be included within the EO141 definition of "Restaurant" (Sec. 1.7.) and so may continue to serve food and drink if:
Any restaurant that is open and serving alcohol should have an open kitchen. Food from the restaurant must be available at all times that alcoholic beverages are being served. Please see 14B NCAC 15B .0105 (SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR RESTAURANTS) for more information.
Additionally, if any customers or guests consume food and/or beverages on-premises at any of the establishments identified above during this Emergency Declaration, the Emergency Maximum Occupancy requirements for restaurants under Executive Order No. 141 apply. Therefore, any customers consuming food or beverages on‑premises must be in seated groups that are spaced at least six feet apart, and customers or guests will be limited to 50% fire capacity.
Private Club Guidance
Am I a Private Club or a Bar? May I open & operate, safely & legally?
Bars are closed by Section 8.A.2 of EO141. The following criteria are intended to help determine if a private club business is acting more like a bar or more like a restaurant. The more these criteria are satisfied by a permittee, the more likely an establishment will be treated as a restaurant that may operate pursuant to Section 1.7.
In these unprecedented times, the health of all of us depends on the actions of each of us. These guidelines are intended to provide clarity for ABC Commission Permittees that may legally operate their businesses during this COVID-19 emergency period. If ABC Permittees in the identified categories of business follow the health guidelines set forth in EO141, businesses may safely operate while minimizing risk to their patrons and their employees. Responsible businesses and responsible patrons will help make Phase 2 a success. We all must do our part to be healthy!