Alcohol outlet density restrictions

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help prevent violence. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • Local regulations (zoning, licensing) are applied to limit the number of establishments in a given area that sell or serve alcohol
  • Aim to reduce excessive drinking and crime, particularly among underage people
  • Typically targeted against domestic crime, including intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, suicide, and gun violence

Evidence and impacts


Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

  • Declines in overall alcohol consumption
  • Reduced crime
  • Reduced underage drinking

Best practices in implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Limiting the number of alcohol outlets near colleges, universities, and high schools can be an effective way of reducing underage drinking.
  • Effectively implementing this policy demands good measurement data. To calculate alcohol outlet density, local leaders should create measurement teams, define what constitutes an alcohol outlet, obtain and validate alcohol license data, and locate all alcohol outlets by a specific geography.