Charlotte Restaurants Prepare For Phase 2 Reopening
Restaurant dining rooms across North Carolina can reopen at reduced capacity beginning Friday at 5 p.m. under a modified Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday. Many have been closed to dine-in customers for more than two months because of the coronavirus.
“I’m really excited. It’s certainly been a stressful last two months,” said Michelle Tucker, owner of Charlotte Jamaican restaurant Mama’s Caribbean Grill. She said the restaurant’s business dropped by 70% when it switched to carryout only.
Under the executive order issued Wednesday, restaurants are required to limit customers in indoor and outdoor seating areas to 50% capacity or limit the number of people so that groups can stay six feet apart. Workers are also encouraged to wear face coverings when they’re within six feet of other people.
Tucker said when Mama’s reopens, all employees will wear face masks and regularly sanitize frequently-touched items like doorknobs, menus and pens.
“I know we’ll do everything on our end to keep our place clean and safe for our customers. But it’s our guests ... that I don’t have control over that [may] not follow those guidelines and would certainly put others at risk,” she said, adding that staff are prepared to remind those who do not follow social distancing requirements.
Pinky’s Westside Grill is taking a wait-and-see approach to reopening. Owner Greg Auten said he wants to see how other restaurants enforce social distancing and how customers behave.
“That first week, everybody’s gonna be really, really busy. And I would really hate for somebody to make a mistake and cause some sort of outbreak here,” Auten said.
Auten said Pinky’s will likely reopen for dine-in customers on June 1.
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