CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Friday marked the first night of North Carolina’s Phase 2 reopening plan.
However, as some businesses are allowed to open and many others can’t, it can cause confusion.
Restaurants can reopen for dine-in customers at mostly a 50 percent capacity, with distancing and cleaning requirements.
Personal care businesses like salons and barbershops can also reopen at 50 percent capacity. These businesses will have face covering and cleaning requirements while also reducing the number of people in the waiting areas.
Swimming pools will be able to open at 50 percent capacity, and overnight and day camps can open with safety rules.
Childcare facilities remain open and are now able to enroll all children.
One of the biggest changes Phase 2 brings is that restaurants can start serving customers in their dining areas once again.
“We’re excited and ready to rock n roll. It’s been two long months, lots of pent up energy,” said Andre Lomeli, who owns Mal Pan in South Park. “We’ve had a lot of time to train our staff and kind of switch things around.”
But if you choose to dine out over Memorial Day Weekend, be ready for considerable changes.
There will be fewer people inside because of the 50% capacity and tables will be spread apart.
At Mal Pan, waiters will be wearing masks.
“We held a meeting yesterday and went through that process. It’s a lot of organizing in that sense,” said Lomeli. “We’re gonna try and make this as seamless as possible. The quality of food and beverage should be the same.”
Although your favorite restaurant might open, your favorite bar is staying closed.
Some businesses and places will remain closed in Phase 2 including bars; night clubs; gyms and indoor fitness facilities; indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters, bowling alleys; and public playgrounds. This is because the spread of COVID-19 can be significant there.
“No. No way,” said Jennifer McNaughton, who owns an Anytime Fitness Franchise.
That was her reaction when she found out gyms couldn’t open.
When North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper first laid out the phased plan for North Carolina’s reopening in April, gyms were included in Phase 2.
“We prepared, we cleaned, extra hand sanitizer everything was ready to go," said Sloan McNaughton, owner of an Anytime Fitness Franchise. “And then it feels like the rug was just pulled out from under us.”
“We were literally ready to open tonight,” Jennifer McNaughton said.
Adding to their confusion, the McNaughtons live on the Carolina border, but on the South Carolina side.
They said it’s been frustrating to see South Carolina open things up.
“There’s a lot of inconsistency,” Sloan McNaughton said.
“I’ve seen people posting ‘there’s a gym open in Rock Hill, I’m going to go buy a membership there.’ You’re giving money away," Jennifer McNaughton said.
The mass gathering limits in Phase 2 will be no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors. This applies to event venues; conference centers; stadiums and sports arenas; amphitheaters; and groups at parks or beaches.
The mass gathering limit does not apply to retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming businesses, pools, child care, day camps, and overnight camps.
In these settings, there are other restrictions, such as 50 percent reduced occupancy or putting six feet of distance between each group at a restaurant, to ensure that there is not overcrowding.
Phase 2 is expected to be in effect until June 26.