BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A vote Monday morning by the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board will restrict alcohol sales at 11 p.m. for all restaurants, bars, and country clubs.
The move is an effort to curb COVID-19 cases.
“The primary mission of the Alabama ABC Board is to protect the health, safety and welfare of our citizens and we take this mission very seriously,” said ABC Board Chairperson Col. Alan Spencer. “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.”
The emergency rule is effective immediately, but will not be enforced until Saturday, Aug 1. Beginning at 11 p.m. Saturday, all ABC licensees are required to cease the service and/or sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. with on-premise consumption to end at 11:30 p.m., according to ABC.
“Our hope is that reduced hours of alcohol service will decrease social gatherings and the transmission of COVID-19,” said ABC Board Administrator Mac Gipson. “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.”
An initial proposal was to make “last call” at 10 p.m.
The ABC Board believes the reduced hours will work. Violation of the change could lead to an establishment getting its license to serve alcohol suspended. The order will be in effect for 120 days, but the board could rescind it at any time.