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Big Changes Coming to North Carolina Bars

Updated: Mar 28

Bars that serve food in North Carolina have more time to make costly upgrades to meet new state regulations for inspections.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Big changes are in store for bars across North Carolina and a lot of them aren't happy about it. 

The clock is ticking for bars that serve food in North Carolina to make costly upgrades. Let's connect the dots. 

The new law requires bars to go through the same permitting and health inspections that restaurants face. Right now, as long as bars don't sell food as their main revenue stream, they aren't subject to food inspections and don't get sanitation scores. That's all about to change, though.

Starting Oct. 1, bars will have to comply with all the same rules restaurants do. Many owners say they're scrambling to make all the necessary upgrades and changes, which are expensive and take a lot of time.

"We're in a unique position, probably the best possible position for this, but I am sure there are other people who have had to make decisions about staying open or closing," Brendan Cox, the owner of the Beagle in Pittsboro, told WRAL.

The good news for small business owners is that the Oct. 1 deadline is months away from the original deadline of March 27. Some lawmakers are hoping this will help bars get up to code while giving the General Assembly more time to consider adjustments to the rules.

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