What social precincts allowing takeout drinks would mean for downtown Raleigh

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — Raleigh could be the next North Carolina city to introduce social precincts, which are designated areas that allow for the sale of takeout alcohol — which in turn allows people to carry on the sidewalk and to drink.

While plans are still in the early stages, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance presented their ideas to the city’s Economic Development Committee this week.

The plan envisions a pilot social district beginning at Fayetteville Street, with options expanding around Moore Square and possibly the Warehouse District.

Both are places where businesses have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If we’re going to experiment with a pilot program, what if we did it in the economically hardest hit parts of downtown,” said Bill King, CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

Since state leaders passed legislation allowing the creation of social districts last year, other North Carolina cities, like Greensboro, have introduced their own version of social districts this year.

The Downtown Raleigh Alliance polled 734 people about the idea, with 74 percent of them reporting “support or general support” for creating a social neighborhood.

“I think that’s great,” said Mike Belmares of Raleigh. “Anything that encourages people to come here. Start walking around, get to know your downtown, get to know your city.”

Still, there’s still a lot of logistics to put together before city council members reevaluate plans next month on issues like enforcement, types of takeout cups and hours of operation within the borough.

Short Walk Wines chief executive James Goertz said he welcomes the idea of ​​a social neighborhood.

“I think it will encourage people to walk around,” Goertz said. “It will get people to take drinks to go. Would be great, especially for us as a bottle shop.”

https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-news/wake-county-news/what-social-districts-allowing-to-go-drinks-would-mean-for-downtown-raleigh/ What social precincts allowing takeout drinks would mean for downtown Raleigh

DUSTIN JONES

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