Excitement and confusion over phase 2 of reopening in North Carolina

Published: May. 21, 2020 at 1:24 PM EDT
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North Carolina restaurants are now able to start opening back up this weekend, according to the "Safer At Home" Phase 2 lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in the state.

But modifications have been made requiring some businesses to continue to stay closed.

'Safer At Home' Phase 2 goes into effect for North Carolina on Friday at 5 p.m., and some restaurant owners are more than excited.

Jeremy Spengeman, owner of Basil's in Greenville, said,“It allows people to kind of move back into a way of opening and allows us to have some freedom in what we do.”

“It’s encouraging, on some level that things are getting loosened up. That means that things are improving,” said Scullery owner, Matthew Scully.

Restaurants can open at 50% capacity with frequent cleaning and social distancing, but bars and breweries cannot.

Governor Roy Cooper said this was because the spread of COVID-19 can be more significant in those businesses.

Bars, nightclubs, gyms and indoor fitness facilities, indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters, and bowling alleys, will all remain closed.

“It’s sad to see businesses not doing well. One of the benefits for businesses in Greenville is that at least it’s their slow season anyways. But I’m sure they would love to get back open and I definitely support them getting back open as soon as possible,” said Spengeman.

Luke Owens is the executive chef and partner of Native Fine diner that will open in the fall.

Owens said, “It’s discouraging because with restaurants it’s the food and beverages industry. They are hand and hand and so similar. I don’t quite understand such a difference between the two.”

He says with the modified Phase 2 order, he doesn't know what's to come for his new restaurant.

“How many restrictions are going to be on us as a new business. A new restaurant in an emerging food town. Is it going to be the same as it is today,”Owens said.

In addition to restaurants opening, personal care businesses like salons and barbers are able to open at 50% capacity, along with pools, as long as they practice social distancing and clean frequently.

Personal care businesses are also required to wear face masks.

The Safer At Home Phase 2 runs through at least Friday, June 26.