Gov. Roy Cooper thanks healthcare workers during a visit to UNC Health in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, where frontline healthcare workers are among some of the first recipients of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order Monday making it easier for businesses to sell alcohol without customers having to show up in person for their purchase.

The order, in effect through the end of January, lets restaurants, hotels, clubs, bars and some distilleries holding certain permits from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, sell alcoholic products for delivery or curbside pickup. The move is intended to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“This order will help people avoid settings that can contribute to increased viral spread while giving restaurants and bars a financial boost that they need right now,” Cooper said in a statement. “With cases and hospitalizations high around the country, let’s all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 while supporting local, small businesses safely.”

The 10-member Council of State approved Cooper's action. Members include the Democratic governor and several other statewide elected officials.

In an executive order unveiled earlier this month, Cooper cut off on-site alcohol sales at 9 p.m. His latest directive comes at a time when the state is seeing surges in cases, hospitalizations and the percentage of tests coming back positive.

More than one in 10 coronavirus tests have come back positive over the past three weeks, and COVID-related hospitalizations have nearly doubled in the past month from less than 1,600 to more than 2,800 cases. The state on Monday reported a single-day increase of roughly 4,500 cases.

On Friday, North Carolina saw its highest daily rise in cases, as nearly 8,500 people tested positive for the virus. The state has reported more than 483,000 coronavirus cases and 6,200 deaths since the start of the pandemic.


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Anderson is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.