BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE (9/29): The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board has rescinded its 11 p.m. curfew for alcohol sales.
The new ruling also requires ABC licensed businesses to allow no more than 50% of capacity at all times, require patrons to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.
The order will go into effect immediately.
ORIGINAL (9/24): While the official decision is anticipated next week, the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board is expected to end the current alcohol sales curfew.
The board will decide Tuesday whether bars are permitted to serve alcohol after 11 p.m.
The decision to delay the vote on the emergency amendment until next week is because of details that remain to be finalized Friday in a meeting with the state bar association.
“We want to meet with the bar, we want to propose the emergency rule to the bar, let them have an opportunity to react to it,” said Dean Argo, the ABC Board’s government relations manager. “We feel very strongly that everything is in order.”
The ABC Board says the 11 p.m. alcohol curfew was set based on research that people may not follow health guidelines if allowed to stay later for continued alcohol consumption. The updated order would allow bars to determine closing time, as long as they follow all state health guidelines, including those on mask-wearing, social distancing, and operating at 50% capacity.
“Once the new emergency rule is adopted—and hopefully it will be adopted next week or some variation of what’s being proposed now—the time certain would go away,” said Argo. “We feel like this is the best route to go because it gives the authority back to licensees to handle those medical directives on their terms but it also lets their patrons know, hey, we’ve got to take this very seriously. We can’t just ignore these medical directives.”
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