Masks won’t be required for customers, but some restaurants will require them for employees

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Face masks will not be required in restaurants once North Carolina enters Phase Two of reopening on Friday at 5 p.m. However, they will be strongly encouraged.

Grub Durham on Chapel Hill Street in Durham plans to reopen its dining room to patrons this weekend, as long as local authorities allow it.

Owner Wendy Woods said her restaurant has lost 75 percent of its business during the pandemic.

“It really has impacted our business model,” Woods said. “We are ready to reopen.”

Woods said she will follow all of the state’s regulations for restaurants, which include requiring customers stay six feet apart. She said she will make sure all surfaces are cleaned regularly.

Woods said she will be requiring all employees to wear face masks, even though the state is not making this a requirement.

“We want to make sure our customers, as well as our staff, stay safe,” Woods said.

However, Woods said she won’t require customers wear face coverings if it is not a state or local requirement.

At CrossFit Durham, business will not resume for owner David Rubin just yet. Gov. Roy Cooper said on Wednesday afternoon that gyms will not be able to open under Phase Two.

When Rubin is able to reopen his gym, he said he does not plan to require patrons to wear face masks, unless state and local authorities require them to do so.

“If it is up to me, then no, they don’t have to expect that,” Rubin said.

However, he said he has seen other states require clients wear face masks in gyms when they are not working out.

“In passing, if it’s required and if they are allowed to take it off while they’re in the middle of a workout, that would be a reasonable compromise,” Rubin said.

Rubin is working with the city of Durham’s Recovery and Renewal Task Force. He is giving city leaders recommendations on social distancing measures for fitness clubs and gyms as they prepare to reopen.

Rubin is hoping both city and state leaders will allow his business to reopen soon.

“We want to make sure that when we are able to reopen, that we are able to do it as safely as possible,” Rubin said.

Mayor Steve Schewel said, right now, he does not know if masks will be required in restaurants and gyms when they reopen in Durham. He also said Durham city and county leaders will be amending their stay-at-home order in the coming days.

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