MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama bars and restaurants will not be able to serve alcohol past 11 p.m., under an emergency order adopted by the state regulatory agency Monday to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board approved an emergency order that limits the hours of operations for restaurants, bars and other entities that sell alcohol. Beginning Saturday, all ABC licensees are required to end the service and sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. On-premise consumption is to end at 11:30 p.m.
“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,” ABC Board Chairman Col. Alan Spencer said in a statement.
Since the pandemic began, nearly 80,000 people in Alabama have tested positive for COVID-19 and 1,446 people have died. There were 1,599 people with COVID-19 in Alabama hospitals on Monday, the highest number since the pandemic began.
Some health officials have said that bars could be a significant source of transmission because of the crowding together of people indoors and people becoming less cautious as they consume alcohol. Several states have temporarily closed bars.
“Our hope is that reduced hours of alcohol service will decrease social gatherings and the transmission of COVID-19,” ABC Board Administrator Mac Gipson said in a statement.