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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

North Carolina Bars And Nightclubs Reopen For Indoor Business

Coyote Joe's.jpg
Nick de la Canal
People lined up outside Coyote Joe's country nightclub in west Charlotte Saturday night. The nightclub reopened on Friday for the first time since March 2020.

North Carolina bars and nightclubs got their first taste of relaxed restrictions this weekend. It was the first weekend bars were allowed to serve people indoors in nearly a year.

At the Coyote Joe's country nightclub in west Charlotte, the line stretched well into the parking lot around 7 p.m. Saturday, just as the nightclub opened its doors and began welcoming patrons inside. Not everyone in line was six feet apart and only a few wore masks.

Among those in line was Dylan Van Reenan. He was shuffling along dressed in boots and a cowboy hat alongside his girlfriend, Parker Thorneburg.

"We have been waiting for this moment for over a year," Van Reenan said.

"This is one of our most favorite places to go," Thorneburg added.

The nightclub known for live country music has been closed since March 2020. Inside, tables were spaced six feet apart and people had their temperatures checked at the door.

Owner Alan Presley said it felt great to see his regulars again.

"We're really glad to have everybody back, and we hope this thing passes and we can get back to normal and be getting back to doing our normal capacities," he said.

Bars and nightclubs in North Carolina are limited to 30% indoor capacity, up to 250 people, and onsite alcohol sales must end at 11 p.m. People are also still required to wear face coverings whenever they're not actively eating or drinking.

Presley says his staff could have better enforced mask-wearing inside the club. He says they will improve on that in the coming weeks. He has also hired a company to disinfect the building after each weekend.