An emergency rule on curbside alcohol sales, unanimously adopted by the Alabama ABC Board, ends on January 4th. The amendment allows bars and restaurants licensed to sell spirits to dispense drinks “to-go” until tomorrow. The order came as concerns over a holiday spike of COVID-19 cases continued to grow statewide. Chambers of commerce across the state requested the curbside alcohol sales amendment. The rule restricts the amount of alcohol to be sold to .375 liters of spirits, two bottles of wine, or one hundred and forty four ounces of beer per customer.
Discussion on the emergency rule extension came in December, at a time when the COVID-19 appeared to be on the decline and bars and restaurants were re-opening and expanding the number of customers they seated inside. However, COVID cases have steadily increased over the last month causing a need to authorize curbside delivery options. This action came at the same time Governor Kay Ivey’s “safer at home” order was nearing an early December expiration. APR student intern Jeremy Boyd interviewed Dr. Karen Landers of the Alabama Department of Health last month. At that time, Dr. Landers said the outbreak is getting worse.
“We have been trending upward for several weeks,” said Landers. “We also have continued to have high numbers of hospitalization for COVID-19. The only preventive measures we have right now for COVID are social distancing, respiratory hygiene, good handwashing, the use of the cloth face coverings."
Debate on extending Governor Ivey’s “safer at home” order included continuing the call for social distancing and the wearing of face masks. Dr. Landers said last month restrictions were relaxed restrictions, including allowing more people in restaurants so long as they were social distancing and had partitions between tables. Lander adds that wasn’t an excuse for unsafe behavior.
“Facilities such as restaurants and other food establishments were able to change their capacity. Previously they had been limited to a 50% capacity. However, you have to remember that even thought that capacity has been changed, persons are still expected to follow the preventive measures.”
Governor Ivey did extend her COVID-19 “safer at home” policy until January 22nd.