BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Good news for restaurants and bars in Alabama as the Alabama Beverage Control Board announced Thursday they plan to drop the 11 p.m. cutoff of alcohol sales. The board initially adopted the restriction earlier this year because of fears of spreading the coronavirus.
It’s been tough on bars trying to stay in business this year. First, the coronavirus shutdown hurt business. They finally were able to reopen, but then they had to stop selling alcohol at 11 p.m.
“I would say the 11 o’clock rule has definitely impacted us. I would say it has dropped our sales by 40%,” said Kevin Cook with Paper Doll Bar.
Paper Doll has been open in downtown Birmingham for about 18 months. Cook said it has been a struggle to survive with the onset of the all the problems surrounding the coronavirus.
“It has drastically hurt everybody. The service industry is so face-to-face, it’s not getting around it,” Cook said.
The board will drop the restriction next week. ABC spokesman Dean Argo said the board understands the hardship the restriction caused.
“We want to be sensitive to licensees. We wanted to rescind this order as soon as there has been a decline in cases,” Argo said.
Argo said COVID-19 numbers have been declining.
Cook said they will continue to work to protect customers.
“We want to make sure we have additional staff and resources necessary to make sure we can continue to do all the necessary precautionary things to mitigate risk,” Cook said.
The board will meet in emergency session next Tuesday. Once the board votes, the deadline will immediately go away. The board will leave it up to ALEA to enforce all health orders of the governor and state health officer, such as fifty percent capacity, social distancing, and facemasks when required.