CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Some North Carolina hotels are concerned they are being left out of Phase 2 of the governor’s plan to reopen the state.
Phase 2 started Friday. It allowed some businesses to reopen with restrictions. Hotels don’t understand how some businesses with smaller space than they have are allowed to have more people inside.
“As a business owner it’s upsetting that we’re having decisions made,” Hotel Owner Vinay Patel said. “And it should be in favor of every citizen of North Carolina - not just a select few. No one agency should be deciding who survives and who doesn’t - who thrives and who does not - it should be fair.”
Governor Roy Cooper’s order states under Phase 2, no more than 10 people can assemble inside a building and no more than 25 people can assemble outside. The order also states this does not apply to certain businesses including restaurants.
Patel argues some hotels have larger meeting spaces than some restaurants and other businesses like tattoo shops. Those businesses can’t have more that 50 percent of the building’s capacity. Patel thinks a bigger crowd can be controlled in a hotel space. He has a conference space that has the capacity of more than 200 people, but only 10 can be in that room.
“In a ballroom you can make it so you can socially distance properly,” Patel said. “And you can police it much better. If people aren’t doing what they need to be doing - our teams can go up there and say folks - this is the way it should be.”
The hotel owner says he is losing business. He says people are checking into his hotels but they can’t use his meeting space if they want to have a small family reunion or meeting if it’s more than 10 people.
“If a group is wiling to travel,” Patel said. “Is willing to take on all the restrictions that are there - why are we stopping it.”
State Representative Craig Horn believes common sense should rule the day. He is on the side of the hotels.
“We got to stop slow walking,” Horn said. “And get back into business and all it takes is some common sense administration.”
He says he has tried to talk to Democratic leaders about getting the democratic governor to ease restrictions but that has not worked.
“It’s all about the team,” Horn said. “And if the captain of the team says no - then the team says no and no one wants to go against the captain and in this case the captain of the team is the governor and members of his party are reluctant and I understand that.”
Patel says in April of last year - his uptown Charlotte hotel was at 72 percent capacity. He says in April of this year his hotel was at 6.2% capacity. He understands safety measures during this pandemic but he wants to level the playing field.
“If we are going to have rules,” Patel said. “Let’s have rules that make sense for everybody.”
We reached out to the Governor’s office for comment but we are still waiting for a response.