Restrict Time and Place of Alcohol Sales

Two effective strategies to reduce alcohol consumption are to regulate when alcohol can be sold and where it can be sold.  We have defined both below.

Regulation of alcohol outlet density (where alcohol can be sold) is applying state, county, city, or other type of governmental control to reduce or limit the number of places that can legally sell alcohol within a given area. Regulation is often implemented through licensing or zoning processes.  Here are some resources focused on outlet density:

  • The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY), based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, documented in a 2013 article how cities and towns can address alcohol outlet density, and also highlighted the critical role of health departments and community coalitions in reducing the harms from excessive alcohol consumption.  Omaha and Project Extra Mile were prominently mentioned in the report as a case study.The article is available by following this link — Using Public Health and Community Partnerships to Reduce Density of Alcohol Outlets.
  • Strategizer 55, Regulating Alcohol Outlet Density: An Action Guide, outlines available evidence-based community prevention strategies shown to decrease the consequences associated with alcohol outlet density, the concentration of bars, restaurants serving alcohol, liquor and package stores in a given geographic area. The publication was developed by CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) in partnership with the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The guide also highlights a case study from Omaha, “A Tale of Two Cities in Nebraska.”

Regulation of day and hours of sale (what time and what days alcohol can be sold) can apply to both on-sale (restaurants and bars) and off-sale (liquor stores and other stores that sell alcohol) establishments. Nebraska gave communities in the state the option to extend bar/liquor retail closing times in 2010.  Currently, more than 100 cities and towns have pushed back closing times from 1 a.m. until 2 a.m.  Also, in 2012, Nebraska began allowing liquor sales before noon on Sundays.  Previously, only beer and wine sales had been allowed. Here are some further resources on the topic:

  • The Community Guide, initiated by the Community Preventive Services Taskforce, provides strategies that are recommended from a systematic review of available literature on reducing excessive alcohol consumption.  The web pages on both day of sale and hours of sale provide excellent information.