‘Why us?’: Bar owners hope of welcoming customers back inside put on pause

N.C.'s Phase 3 paused for three more weeks

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With North Carolina’s reopening plans put on pause at phase three, bar owners say they feel they can’t catch a break.

They were hoping Gov. Roy Cooper would have given the green light to have customers back inside.

“Because of several of our trends are moving in the wrong direction, North Carolina will remain paused in phase three for the next three weeks," Cooper said Wednesday.

Capacity for bars will remain at 30 percent with outdoor seating only. Also continuing, alcohol sales have to stop at 11 p.m.

“It seems like we’re being told we are the problem but we haven’t been open to show we’re not the problem. We kind of stick out like a sore thumb. It’s like, why us? What did we do to make us be closed this long?” said Jackie DeLoach.

DeLoach is the owner of Hattie’s Tap and Tavern. She says they’ve only been able to serve about 30 people outside -- a far cry from their business pre-COVID.

“It’s a little bit of a struggle because for us to be able to make some sort of a profit, we do need to have a larger capacity especially with the amount of space I have in doors," she said.

Michael Felt owns both The Blind Pig and NoDa 101. He says he just wants a level playing field.

“We’re operating at about seven percent of our volume last year," Felt added.

Both say as the weather starts to bring in cold temperatures, unless something changes it won’t be worth having their business stay open.

“Now you’re asking us to spend a lot of money to be able to even have people sit outside. At that point, it’s not worth it," said DeLoach.

“Not worth it to remain open especially with the weather changing. If things don’t change, we can’t operate under these guidelines," added Felt.

They also have this question: What makes bars different than any other business serving alcohol?

“I’m not sure the virus knows when you’re eating a cheeseburger or not...I have trouble with that," Felt said.

Phase three will continue until at least Nov. 13.

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