CHARLOTTE — North Carolina will be entering phase two to reopen on May 22 if things go well.
It would lift the statewide stay-at-home order, allowing restaurants to open dining rooms at limited capacity.
The plan would also open gyms, salons, entertainment venues and churches.
Officials warn the COVID-19 virus is still going to be in the community and safeguards will be in place until there is a cure.
That is why some local restaurants are going above and beyond the requirements as they prepare for phase two.
Moa Korean BBQ and Bar on Tryon Street in uptown Charlotte will be screening customers.
There is a sign at the restaurant that reads “Coming Soon,” and when it opens in a few weeks, there will be cameras inside scanning customers’ temperatures.
Owner Sean Kim is hoping to finish construction in two weeks, but he said they won’t be ready to open for dining then.
“But my most concern is the people around me,” Kim said. “I don't know their conditions.”
While the state may allow him to serve food with paper menus and social distancing steps in place, Kim wants to go a step further.
He's installing a thermal-imaging camera and screen at the hostess stand.
“That way, the customers coming in feeling a little better,” Kim said. “It doesn't detect everything, but there's a little relief to sit down and enjoy a dinner.”
He already installed a camera at his restaurant in Columbia, South Carolina, where every staff member is screened as they continue to do takeout only.
Kim showed Channel 9’s anchor Genevieve Curtis how the technology works.
He set the camera to give an alert if it scans someone’s temperature at 100.4 degrees.
The temperature can be adjusted in the system.
The idea came from how South Korea is handling the coronavirus pandemic, and how the country is opening back up.
“In South Korea, in public places, it’s mandatory to have these thermal-imaging cameras,” he said.
He said he knows there might be some pushback from customers, but Kim said he's just trying to find ways to open safely.
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“We’ll see some angry customers turning around, but we have to set the rule and written policy in front of the restaurant,” Kim said. “I hope everybody understands why I'm doing it.”
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Kim said the restaurant plans to compensate people who have a high temperature with discounted to-go meals or gift certificates to come back another night.
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