Cary pool hall owner among NC businesses frustrated about reopening rules

Wake County News

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — The tables at High House of Billiards in Cary have been empty for more than two months — since March 17.

“We were very supportive of Governor Cooper enforcing a shutdown,” said Brian McIntire, who opened High House of Billiards 12 years ago. “It’s only on Wednesday that things became difficult for us.”

When he heard Cooper announce the start of Phase Two — McIntire tells CBS 17 he was blown away to learn that gyms, bars, and private clubs like his billiards hall, would have to stay closed.

“The whole shutdown, we have never heard bars and restaurants separated,” he said. “They were always mentioned in the same way — bars and restaurants, bars and restaurants.” 

McIntire also owns a tavern — which technically had a permit to operate as a restaurant — and is allowed to open for dine-in.

Cooper’s executive order keeps certain businesses closed based on if they have a high risk of spreading COVID-19.

But McIntire says his billiards hall is much bigger than the tavern, with more room to spread out and social distance.

“What we weren’t prepared for was for there to be a classification where bars are now in one class and restaurants, which are also bars and have bars in them, and operate as bars, are now suddenly a different class,” he said of his frustration. “That was difficult for us and difficult for our patrons.”

Thankfully, McIntire says those patrons are loyal and plan on coming back to run the pool tables as soon as the hall reopens. That likely won’t be until Phase Three.

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