Igloos? NC restaurants get creative as more COVID restrictions set to begin Friday

North Carolina news

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – North Carolina businesses are preparing for the state’s new modified stay-at-home order. It will take effect this Friday, requiring people to remain at home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

A number of restaurant owners who spoke with FOX 46 say they’re having to think on their feet with all the changes.

An igloo is one of the things the owner at the Goodyear House came up with as customers try to keep safe during the pandemic. It’s something quite unusual but needed as restaurants adapt to COVID.

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“We’ve had to figure out ways to drive revenue. We’ve had to figure out ways to make guests feel safe,” owner Sean Potter said.  

Potter says his NoDa restaurant is having to be creative as Gov. Roy Cooper tightens COVID restrictions. Goodyear and other North Carolina restaurants and bars will close by 10 p.m. starting Friday. Potter says the goal is to keep customers safe.

“Now it’s ‘How do I keep people six feet apart? How do I keep people from coughing on each other and wanting to inherently gather as a social group when this isn’t the time to do that?’”

Not only are restaurants required to close early, but they’re also having to enforce mask-wearing when customers aren’t eating or drinking.  The owner of Mert’s Soulfood says it’s challenging.

“We try our best to make sure everyone comes in with masks and keep it on while placing orders and from that point on we let it go once they start eating,” Mert’s owner James Bazzelle said.

Data from the Health Department shows that North Carolina went into critical community spread the last week in November. Restaurant owners say it’s hard to stay afloat with new restrictions.

“We’ve got tents outside with heaters but when you get to the point of closing at 9 and 10 there is nothing to do, all you can do is lose money,” said Matt Wohlfarth with Dilworth Neighborhood Grill.

Restaurant owners tell FOX 46 that another issue is enforcement. They admit it’s one thing to update restrictions but what happens when business owners are in constant violation, making it hard for other businesses?

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