RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More people will be allowed into North Carolina’s restaurants, bars, gyms, salons, and other businesses after Gov. Roy Cooper announced he’d be easing some restrictions.
Cooper cited the improving COVID-19 metrics as the reason he chose to make the move now.
The carpets are being cleaned at Relish in Raleigh. The popular restaurant hasn’t allowed indoor dining in over a year.
“We figured it was not safe for us inside with customers who had to have their masks off when they ate,” owner Sharon May said.
May said they expanded their outdoor seating and takeout options. Still business is down 75 percent.
“If it wasn’t for some of the government funding and at different times, I wouldn’t still be doing this,” May said.
With her employees able to get vaccinated, May said she’s planning to restart indoor dining in late April.
The governor announced Tuesday restaurants like Relish can expand capacity from 50 percent to 75 percent.
Gyms will be able to do the same. F45 in North Raleigh opened two weeks before the restrictions took effect last year.
“I’m here for the long haul, for sure, but it is very hard,” owner Peter Heffring said.
Heffring said he still hasn’t been able to turn a profit, but he understands why the restrictions are in place. He said he supports the latest move, even though it won’t benefit his business.
“When you have to maintain the 6-foot social distancing, we can’t really put too many more people. So, probably 18 is our max capacity right now,” he said.
Salons like Sky Parlor will be able to operate at 100 percent capacity, which is up from 50 percent.
“It’s going on our 10th year,” owner Joey Humphrey said. “We had to get creative with scheduling. We’re actually open almost seven days a week now. Different stylists work on different days.”
The changes take effect Friday at 5 p.m.