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

NC Expected To Begin Phase 2 Friday, Allow 50% Restaurant Capacity


The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association on Tuesday evening released a document providing "interim guidance" from the NC Department of Health and Human Services that indicates the state will begin Phase 2 of its reopening Friday -- and allow dine-in service for 50% of the building capacity.

The PDF from DHHS was posted to the NCRLA website and dated May 22, outlining both requirements and recommendations for restaurants as the state enters Phase 2 of reopening from the coronavirus shutdown.

Among the requirements:

  • Restaurants can allow no more than 50% of the maximum occupancy as stated in fire capacity;
  • Tables and seating should be arranged to have at least six feet between parties;
  • High-traffic areas -- such as cash registers or places where customers wait to be seated -- must be marked with six feet of spacing;
  • Signs stating the reduced capacity and social distancing recommendations must be posted;
  • Routine cleaning of high-touch areas -- such as doorknobs -- must be performed.

Further recommendations include allowing no more than six people to sit at a table, unless from the same family or household; provide hand sanitizer; reduce condiments at tables; recommend face coverings to employees and customers when they must be within six feet of each other.
Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to announce full details of Phase 2 on Wednesday.

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Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.