You Won’t Believe How Much Alcohol People Drink in This North Carolina City

In North Carolina, there’s a new trend brewing as cities open up outdoor spaces for folks to enjoy a drink. Thanks to a law passed by the state’s General Assembly last year, counties and cities can now create designated outdoor areas where people can legally sip on alcoholic beverages.

Since this law came into effect in September 2021, several cities in North Carolina have jumped on board with the idea. Places like Kannapolis, Asheville, and Hickory have already set up their own designated outdoor zones.

Even Cornelius gave it a try, testing the waters with a special setup just for St. Patrick’s Day. And Salisbury might soon join the club, with city council members voting on the creation of their own outdoor drinking space next month, scheduled to open on May 1 if approved.

Rose Williams, who heads up the North Carolina League of Municipalities, sees this trend as a response to the pandemic’s impact on downtown areas and local businesses. The pandemic hit downtowns hard, so local leaders, lawmakers, and business owners are all looking for ways to breathe new life into these areas.

Williams stresses how important downtown areas are to cities, calling them the heart of the community. When downtown thrives, the whole city benefits. That’s why investing in downtown revitalization is key to overall city prosperity.

Creating these outdoor social zones usually focuses on downtown and historic areas that are easy to walk around. The law requires cities to clearly mark and define these areas, usually with signs.

They also need to provide things like special cups for drinks and plenty of trash cans to keep the area clean. And they might need to enforce noise rules to keep things from getting too loud for neighbors.

While these outdoor drinking zones bring economic benefits and liven up downtown areas, cities need to be careful about potential downsides. They need to think about things like noise and whether the location is right for these zones. But city laws can be flexible, so they can adjust based on feedback from the community.

Even though North Carolina has a conservative reputation, the rise of these outdoor social zones shows the state’s willingness to adapt to changing times. It’s all about supporting local businesses and keeping communities connected, especially during tough times like the pandemic.

As cities work through the challenges of recovery, these outdoor social zones offer a promising way to breathe new life into downtown areas and boost economic growth. With careful planning and input from the community, these initiatives could be a big win for cities all across North Carolina.

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