NC Sheriffs’ Association says Cooper’s order allowing to-go, delivery cocktails is against state law

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Under Executive Order 183, ordering a to-go or delivery cocktail from your favorite establishment is now allowed in North Carolina.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed the order Monday, authorizing the North Carolina ABC Commission to permit the delivery or carry-out of mixed beverages as an alternative to on-site consumption. The order is effective through Jan. 31, 2021, the governor’s office said.

However, the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association said in a notice to all state sheriffs that this is against state law.

North Carolina General Statute § 18B-203 sets forth the legal powers and duties of the ABC
Commission.

The sheriffs’ association says they are not aware of and have not found any legal authority that would authorize Cooper or the chair of the ABC Commission to override state law.

“While these powers and duties are varied, they do not include the authority to
suspend or rewrite a State statute or any other criminal law violation imposed by the North
Carolina General Assembly,” the association said in the notice.

Executive Order 183 approves one sealed drink per person per order. You don’t have to order food to order a drink.

On-site alcohol sales, however, must still stop at 9 p.m. ahead of the 10 p.m. curfew.

The executive order also allows for mixed beverage permit holders to offer delivery service so that mixed alcoholic beverages in a sealed container can be delivered to the “purchaser’s location” off-premises.

Current state law does not authorize the sale of a mixed alcoholic beverage for carry-out or delivery to the customer, even if the beverage is sold and transported off-premises in a sealed container.

According to North Carolina General Statute § 18B-401, it is a Class 3 misdemeanor to transport any spirituous liquor in the passenger area of a motor vehicle in anything other than the manufacturer’s unopened original container.

Current state law also makes it unlawful to transport a mixed alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of a motor vehicle even if a bar or restaurant mixes the alcoholic beverage and seals it in a container for transport.

“As of the writing of this notice, we are not aware of the Chair of the ABC Commission taking
any official action stating that ABC establishments are authorized to sell for carry-out or
delivery mixed alcoholic beverages in sealed containers, as discussed in Executive Order No. 183. In the event such action is taken, Executive Order No. 183 indicates that it will be posted in a public document on the ABC Commission’s website,” the notice continues.

The association says it is not aware of and “have not found any legal authority” for the governor to authorize or direct the suspension of statutory mandates contained in Chapter 18B of the General Statutes, including the prohibition against selling mixed alcoholic beverages for carry-out and consumption off-site.

“No such authority is identified in the Governor’s Executive Orders and no such authority can be found in the General Statutes. State and local law enforcement officers may enforce the provisions contained in the Governor’s Executive Orders and a violation constitutes a Class 2 misdemeanor.”

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