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July 1, 2024 Marks Start of Uptown Shelby Social District

We've got news you can 'cheers' to: the much-anticipated Uptown Shelby Social District is officially active! Our team has worked closely with the City of Shelby over the past year and half to make sure we can roll out the USSD safely and successfully from the jump.


What is a Social District?


Social Districts are not new to the state of North Carolina. State legislature passed a law in September 2021 (HB890) that allowed local city and county governments to create alcohol social districts. These districts loosen restrictions on open container laws, allowing pedestrians to move within a specified boundary with alcohol purchased on-premise at specified bars and restaurants.


These districts serve as vibrant hubs of social interaction, cultural exchange, and community engagement. They are designed to foster a sense of belonging and connection among residents and visitors alike, providing a platform for people to come together, share ideas, and build relationships.


Within these districts, a diverse range of activities and events take place, catering to various interests and preferences. From local festivals and art exhibitions to culinary experiences and live performances, Social Districts offer a plethora of opportunities for individuals to immerse themselves in the local culture and heritage. This not only enriches the community's social fabric but also contributes to the overall economic vitality of the region.


How so? The initial reasoning behind Social Districts was to bolster restaurants and other businesses after strenuous times due to the pandemic. The increase in foot traffic and expansion of event opportunities has proved a boon, but there's more to it. As these ordinances have been issued, many businesses are looking to expand in areas where Social Districts already exist. (Read more about this trend in Business NC.)


At the Uptown Shelby Association, we have observed our fellow Main Street America organizations across the state support and enact Social District ordinances since 2021, carefully reviewed the outcomes over time, and diligently worked with City of Shelby Councilmembers and staff to ensure that our district can be one of the best.


How Does A Social District Work?


Patrons of area bars and restaurants will need to be mindful of the signage and status of each business, which will be posted on entry doors. For example, some may allow outside beverages, while others may not. Some businesses, including retail stores and galleries, may request that no outside beverages be brought inside (similar to current policies that deny entry with food or drinks).



Beverages may not be taken outside the Uptown Shelby Social District, and district-goers are not allowed to refill their own cups or bring their own beverages into the district. All cups must be disposed of before exiting the USSD. All regulations and laws still apply, and ALE officers and local law enforcement continue to have jurisdiction over the area, so we urge everyone to put litter in its place, know your own limits, and to call a cab if you are unable to drive.


Here's a handy list of Dos and Don'ts to help explain the rules at a glance:



More information on the Social District can be found on our resource page.

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