Mint Hill pulls out of Mecklenburg County’s alcohol restriction order

Mint Hill pulls out of Mecklenburg County’s alcohol restriction order

MINT HILL, N.C. — Mint Hill pulled out of Mecklenburg County’s alcohol restriction order Monday, opting into the state’s less strict order.

The county order shuts down restaurants and other locations that serve alcohol for on-site consumption at 11 p.m. The county's order also bans sitting and standing in bar areas.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s order bans restaurants and breweries from serving alcohol past 11 p.m. but doesn’t make the businesses shut down for on-site food consumption at that time. The state’s order also doesn’t restrict seating in bar areas.

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Mint Hill Mayor Brad Simmons said town restaurants have demonstrated they can keep people safe and responsibly offer seating in bar areas.

"We are allowing restaurants to serve food in the bar areas as long as they follow social distancing and all other related health and safety requirements," Simmons said. "Many of the restaurants in our area use these areas to serve food and have been able to still follow all social distancing guidelines and keep their customers safe."

Mint Hill will still ban shared touch games, such as pool, darts and pinball.

For many restaurant owners, the county's restrictions were one more hurdle. Restaurants are already capped with how much seating they can offer. Howard Hitchcock, co-owner of Vintner's Hill Wine Bar and Bistro, said varying party sizes made the county's restrictions a challenge. Losing the bar seating area made seating arrangements more difficult.

"By not having the ability to be able to adapt your room as people come in and use a quarter of the bar, space that by six feet and use another quarter of the bar, it really restricts how you can serve people," he said.

Cooper will announce this week whether we will enter in phase three on Friday. Mecklenburg County’s business reopening committee will meet Tuesday morning.

Cooper: Alcohol sales at N.C. restaurants ending at 11 p.m.