Orange County will limit alcohol and dining sales at local restaurants starting this week to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The county announced Thursday that restaurants, private clubs and other food outlets in Orange County will no longer be able to sell alcohol after 10 p.m., starting at 5 p.m. Friday.
Other changes will prevent restaurant businesses from providing offsite table service after 10 p.m. and require businesses to prevent customers from sitting or standing in bars.
Businesses must also prevent customers from touching shared surfaces, such as pool tables, darts and other gaming equipment, according to a press release.
Restaurants can still offer take-out, deliveries and drive-thru food orders after 10 p.m., county spokesman Todd McGee said.
The order also does not apply to grocery store, convenience store, or ABC store sales.
Orange County already limits gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. The limit on gatherings does not apply to worship, religious and spiritual services, funerals, weddings or gatherings for health and safety, work, shopping or government services.
Elected leaders contacted by The News & Observer in Durham, Raleigh and Durham and Wake counties on Thursday said they had no similar plans to further restrict dining or alcohol sales there.
UNC students due to return next month
“We had heard that there were rallies in these places late at night,” McGree said. “These people were staying there and they were basically becoming bars, and people were just sitting around and not observing social distancing, and of course, doing what kids do. ”
The move comes about a month before students from UNC-Chapel Hill return to campus. Some students have already returned.
Penny Rich, chair of the Orange County Council of Commissioners, said confirmed cases of coronavirus in Orange County have tripled since Memorial Day.
“These additional measures will help protect our community by reducing group settings where the virus can easily spread,” Rich said. “We need to be vigilant in practicing physical distancing and wearing masks. It is more important than ever to look out for each other. “
The county had reported 892 coronavirus case and 42 deaths Thursday at noon, according to its website.
County data shows that the number of cases reported each day has risen sharply, especially in the past three weeks, with 37% of the cases reported so far among those aged 24 to 49. Another 19% of cases were reported among 18-24.
Editor-in-chief Alyssa Lukpat contributed to this story.