Restaurants prep to reopen; confusion over restrictions for bars, breweries

Restaurants prep to reopen; confusion over restrictions for bars, breweries

CHARLOTTE — Restaurants are rushing to get ready for the reopening of dining rooms at 5 p.m. Friday, which is when Gov. Roy Cooper’s phase two kicks in.

Customers will have a much different experience from what’s on the table to where they sit.

[Here’s what will reopen, stay closed when NC moves into Phase 2 on Friday]

Content Continues Below

Customers will immediately notice things are different in Cabo Fish Taco, said Chris Wade, operations manager.

“I want more than 6 feet if I can make that happen, because you’re gonna have to worry about traveling pass people are going to want to use the restrooms,” Wade said.

There will also be other noticeable changes at the table inside the NoDa restaurant.

“You won’t have silverware on the tables anymore,” Wade said. “We won’t have salt and peppers on the table anymore. All that will now be self-serve size packets of salt, little packets of pepper.”

Study: How long will it take to get comfortable eating inside a restaurant

Patrons may have to wait for someone to clean their tables before sitting down – all part of the restaurant experience in the COVID-19 era.

“Like I said, the pace is going to be a little slower,” Wade said. “People are going to have to be quite conscious of their safety during the situation.”

Wade said everyone is just trying to figure out how to stay safe and stay in business at the same time.

“We were lucky. We were a very profitable store before, and that’s the times we’re looking forward to again,” Wade said.

Safety is driving change is at other restaurants, as well.

>> Have questions about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Carolinas? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak -- CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

At Mimosa Grill in uptown Charlotte, chef Thomas Marlow said they’re going to use disposable menus.

Tables are spaced out even more than 6 feet.

“So, if you look here the tables 8 feet, but if there’s a guest here and potentially here, which we try to avoid. These chairs are, actually, still six feet apart,” Marlow said.

The owners at Lucky Dog Bark and Brew had been hoping to have the taps flowing again Friday, but it most likely won’t happen.

“It’s disheartening, honestly,” said Kelly Waugh, Lucky Dog Bark and Brew.

With plenty of wide-open space, she’s confident they can serve drinks and keep customers safe at the same time.

“We don’t want to put people at risk, but we’re just confused as to why a 1,000 square-foot restaurant can open at half capacity, what would be the difference for us?” she said.

Wade didn’t understand why that happened, as well.

“I’m not sure how they ended up making that decision to be honest with you. Maybe it’s a situation where they felt it was harder to police,” Wade said.

Restaurants prep to reopen; confusion over restrictions for bars, breweries

NC Breweries Seek Clarification to Reopen in Phase II:

Raleigh, N.C. – The NC craft beer industry is an integral part of the state’s economy. We manufacture, distribute and sell some of the finest beer in the United States and have been an engine for economic growth in small towns and cities throughout North Carolina, contributing more than $2b to the economy and providing more than 12,000 jobs.

The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent shut down has devastated the industry. While we have been deemed an essential business as part of the beverage supply chain, revenues are down 75-90% industry-wide. Being able to reopen for modified on-premise activities as part of the Governor’s plan in Phase II is instrumental to the survival of the industry.

Our 328 breweries, taprooms and brewpubs have served as leaders in this crisis, working to provide safe and responsible ways for the consuming public to enjoy locally crafted beer. As an industry, our breweries have invested millions in manufacturing and safety equipment. We do not believe our breweries, taprooms or brewpubs meet Executive Order 141’s definition of “bars”, and we are continuing to work with the Governor’s office to clarify this matter.

Throughout the COVID-19 shut-down, the NC craft beer industry has acted in a responsible manner making the safety of our customers and employees our top priority. We have worked with NCDHHS on safety protocols and we have enacted those protocols in accordance with CDC and NCDHHS guidelines, consistent with requirements and guidance for NC restaurants, that would allow our breweries to reopen on a modified basis for onsite consumption, without sacrificing public safety, and allowing for appropriate social distancing and sanitation protocols.

We look forward to getting questions regarding the industry’s status resolved quickly, for the benefit of our craft brewing industry, and the public interest.

>> We’ll bring you LIVE updates on Channel 9 Eyewitness News. Get extended coverage on the free WSOC Now app on Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV.

NC barbershops, salons to reopen; restaurants can serve indoors under Phase 2 changes