KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WBTV) - A Kannapolis restaurant opened its indoor dining room Wednesday in defiance of the current order issued by Governor Roy Cooper.
Lee’s Sandwich Shop on Central Drive in Kannapolis has been open for take out during the coronavirus pandemic. Wednesday, owner Chic Suggs decided to allow customers to eat inside.
““I’m not making anybody come in here and eat, but if they want to they are more than welcome to. I just don’t care anymore,” Suggs said.
Suggs says he can normally have 49 people in the building, but he is only allowing up to 24 people inside. He removed some bar stools and blocked some dining tables to keep patrons socially distant. Customers still had to order outside and then could bring their food in to sit if they wanted to.
“Lee’s has always made sure he kept a clean, sanitized restaurant. I had no concerns whatsoever. We had our grandbaby meet us and she is going to be 2 at the end of the month, so she went ahead and dined with us,” Customer Lacy Loan said.
Suggs says he decided to open the inside of his restaurant after hearing about people eating from the concession stand opened at the city-owned baseball park near West Avenue over the weekend.
“If I can’t have my outdoor seating or my indoor seating and feed the customers, they shouldn’t be allowed to have their food sitting in the stands eating their food and drinking their beer,” Suggs said.
The City of Kannapolis responded to his remarks with the following statement:
“Several years ago when we began the design for West Avenue and the ballpark - city council made the decision to design and operate both as public park spaces. The ballpark and West Avenue are open every day for people to walk or run the concourse. They can come in a with a book and read, and so forth. They can also bring a picnic lunch from their homes or eat food from any restaurant in the City. At this time, these activities must be done in accordance with the Governor’s Orders. The team did decide last week to open one concession stand and offer a limited menu - of takeout food only. People are welcome to take the food anywhere to eat it. Patio and Picnic table areas are restricted and you cannot eat at these locations. In accordance with the Governor’s Orders, the one concession stand area is separated off from the remainder of the venue. Patrons are not allowed to consume food in the service area but must find other locations in the very large facility for consumption. This is a legitimate and expansive separation between the service area and the available consumption areas which complies the Governor’s order and is consistent with its intent. The Cabarrus Health Alliance has also been on site to ensure compliance with the Governor’s Order.”
At last check, Suggs says he had not received any citation or reprimand for opening his restaurant in violation of the Governor’s order.