Norwood Town Council approves social district, second one in state

Published 3:24 pm Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Citizens and visitors to certain businesses in the downtown Norwood area will soon be able to enjoy an outdoor cocktail.

At the December meeting of the town’s council, a motion was approved 4-0 to create a new social district where patrons of ABC-permitted businesses may enjoy alcoholic beverages outside.

The new district is in the downtown Norwood area on both sides of Main Street, between Whitley and Pee Dee Avenue, bordered on the northern side by Campbell Street. The district will also go down Main Street to include Mr. Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant.

In the common areas and on the sidewalks, a drink of up to 16 ounces in a specially labeled clear cup will be available to patrons. Establishments may only serve two beers or glasses of wine and one liquor drink to a patron at a time. Patrons may not take their drink out of the district into a vehicle or to another business.

The hours patrons will be able to drink outside will be from 10 a.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday. Per requirements of law, signs will need to be put up before the district goes into place.

Recently, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the social district legislation. Norwood’s approval makes the town just the second municipality to approve a new district. The first was passed by Kannapolis, which is the West Avenue Social District next to Atrium Health Ballpark.

The bill, according to Norwood Town Administrator Scott Howard, “was written in the spirit of helping businesses bounce back quickly from the pandemic. That is the result we’re going for. It’s gonna be a booster shot to help the local businesses to get back on their feet.”

He said he met with an Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) agent and Norwood Police Chief James Wilson in developing plans for the district.

Howard noted the applicable laws in place for things like public drunkenness and such are still in effect.

In researching social districts, Wilson said he found concerns about people having too much to drink was not really the case. He got in touch with the Kannapolis police chief, who said they have had no issues in their district. In fact, Wilson said the Kannapolis chief noted the “uptick in business” for restaurants in the district.

“This is really just an opportunity for people inside these restaurants to be able to go outside and enjoy being in an atmosphere set outside,” Wilson said.

He said it’s no different than being served inside the restaurant, saying people can go outside and enjoy their meal and drink as they would normally inside.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored four times by the North Carolina Press Association.

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