Out of concern for the health and safety of the general public and licensees, the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board today approved an emergency order that limits the hours of operations for restaurants, bar and entities that sell alcohol. Effective immediately but not enforced until Saturday, all ABC licensees are required to cease the service and/or sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. with on-premise consumption to end at 11:40 p.m.
Daily COVID-19 cases in the state continue to climb, with almost 3,000 new cases reported this weekend.
“The primary mission of the Alabama ABC Board is protect the health, safety and welfare of our citizens and we take this mission very seriously,” ABC Board chairperson Col. Alan Spencer said. “We are very sensitive to the economic impact this rule will have. This is a gut-wrenching decision we are making today, but it is also gut wrenching to see the number of Alabamians who are suffering from this disease. On balance, I am compelled to vote in favor of the rule. This will be a very short duration and will relieve this restriction as soon as possible.”
Many states, citing rising COVID-19 cases, already have closed bars or imposed other limits, such as banning on-premises drinking, at businesses that sell alcohol. By adopting this emergency rule, the ABC Board is ensuring customers and businesses the ability to continue operating in a semi-normal fashion by reducing the hours of on-premises alcohol service. It is widely believed that alcohol consumption reduces inhibitions.
After consuming alcoholic beverages individuals are less likely to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, including the wearing of masks and social distancing, potentially increasing the transmission of COVID-19.
“Our hope is that reduced hours of alcohol service will decrease social gatherings and the transmission of COVID-19,” ABC Board administrator Mac Gipson said. “Our number one goal is to protect the public and our license holders. We believe this emergency order will reduce the exposure to and spread of COVID-19.”