CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina restaurants were hit with a major business hurdle Tuesday. Governor Roy Cooper ordered all restaurants and bars in the state to close for dine-in customers, effective at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The order was issued in response to the growing concern surrounding the potential spread of the coronavirus.
While restaurants are no longer allowed to serve food to customers in their dining areas, they can still fill takeout and delivery orders.
Uptown resident Michael Kelly said he is a regular at several eateries in uptown. He picked up a takeout order from Bisonte Pizza Company Tuesday night.
“We don’t eat at big chain restaurants. We support local here in Charlotte and everywhere we go,” Kelly explained to WBTV in an interview outside of the restaurant.
He said he had heard about the new restriction being placed on restaurants and thinks it is a good idea, but understands how it will hurt local business.
“I feel bad. I feel horrible for these people because this is there livelihood,” said Kelly.
Uptown resident Kaylan Ashrafi told WBTV she works at a bar in uptown and feels for all the people who will be impacted by the new restrictions.
“It sucks for the servers and the bartenders who survive off tips. It’s hard to pay bills if you’re for two weeks not serving,” said Ashrafi.
Steven Dapolito, the owner of Bisonte Pizza Company, explained that business started slowing down for many restaurants over the last week.
“Everybody saw a significant cease. It was like somebody hit the brakes on Wednesday of last week,” said Dapolito.
He said he has had a plan in place for how to continue making money during the coronavirus outbreak. He noted that 50 percent of his business already comes from takeout and delivery orders. The restaurant owner said he is thankful for the loyal customers who continue to support Bisonte.
“We’re gonna pay as many people for as long as we can and we’re gonna feed as many people for as long as we can,” said Dapolito.
Kelly is urging other Charlotte residents to continue supporting local businesses during the outbreak.
“Even if it’s coming here to get a glass of iced tea or something, just do that or even a piece of pizza or anything. Just stop by and let them know, ‘I support you, I’m thinking of you.’ That’s what they need. They need encouragement,” said Kelly.
According to the governor’s order, grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores, can remain open but they may not serve sit-down food.