Alcohol consumption

A new ‘social district’ could allow alcohol consumption on the streets of Salisbury town center

SALISBURY, NC — You’ll soon be able to stroll the streets of downtown Salisbury with a drink in hand.

A group of business players are pushing the city to create a “social neighborhood” where open containers would be allowed.

“We hope it will be a driving force for tourism. We know we will be one of the first of a handful of cities to pass this,” says Samantha Haspel, of Downtown Salisbury Inc.

According to Haspel, this is something that could make Salisbury town center a destination – the possibility of allowing bars, restaurants and other local businesses to sell open containers of alcohol with which customers can hang out and enjoy themselves. walking in the city center.

Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill last year authorizing “social districts” across the state.

“I think there are a lot of misconceptions about social neighborhoods. I think the ideas that come to mind are Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Bourbon Street. And that’s really not how we expect our district to operate,” Haspel said.

Instead, she hopes it will be an opportunity to create additional revenue for local businesses already hard hit by the pandemic, and attract new ones.

Salisbury hope to see the same success they saw just down the street in Kannapolis, where a social district was created late last year.

Kannapolis has specific rules requiring special labels on opened containers, limiting the size to 16 ounces and limiting when the social district is allowed to operate.

“A lot of my customers want to go out and have a drink downtown,” says Victoria Sanchez, general manager of La Cava restaurant in Salisbury.

She is excited about how a “social neighborhood” could bring more pedestrians downtown, especially at night.

“A bit, I wouldn’t say motivation, but a bit more like an incentive to come downtown,” she says.

Salisbury City Council is expected to approve the ‘social district’. He is expected to consider the idea next month and a vote could come as early as March.

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