‘We’re being massacred’ – NC restaurants, already suffering, now face stricter mask rules

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Everyone who dines out in North Carolina will now be asked to wear a mask when they’re not actively eating or drinking — even at their table.

It is part of Gov. Roy Cooper’s latest order, which goes into effect Wednesday evening.

Cheetie Kumar’s keeping their dining outside at Garland in downtown Raleigh.

“When people aren’t wearing a mask when they’re eating and drinking inside, it’s definitely a higher-risk situation than being outside,” said Kumar, co-owner and chef of Garland.

She said they’ve put safety first. They also can’t survive with the capacity requirements for indoor dining.

“When you’re operating at half capacity, it’s not like you can necessarily only have half the staff,” Kumar said.

To stay afloat, they’ve gotten creative with their outside space. They’re also doing turkey kits, among other takeout endeavors.

“I don’t think the governor is to blame for increasing restrictions. This is what is required to contain the pandemic and if we had stayed with increased shut down back in the summer, restaurants, and bars would be better equipped to see a better future now,” Kumar said. “This year has been a lot of firsts.”

Cooper is strengthening face-covering requirements for restaurants and bars, starting Wednesday evening. All guests must be wearing them, even at their table, when they’re not actively drinking or eating.

“I think it’s ridiculous to assume a business is going to have any authority to walk up and say, ‘Hey, what are you doing? You finished your last bite. Put that mask back on,'” said Zack Medford, president of the North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association.

Medford said they don’t make the rules, but people need to follow them.

“What we need to do is work with North Carolinians to take personal accountability to wear the mask and don’t put businesses in that position,” he said.

He doesn’t think the new requirement will take away business. Although, they’re suffering as is.

“It’s just awful. We’re being massacred right here,” Medford said.

He hopes people will keep supporting local.

Medford said an informal survey shows around 60 percent of businesses in the hospitality industry will be gone this time next year.

Business owners are pushing for more relief from the state and federal government.

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