Local bar owners face weeks of uncertainty after latest reopening extension in N.C.

Owner of The Bling Pig says they will ‘probably’ close their doors this weekend
Updated: Nov. 11, 2020 at 6:24 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With the extension of Phase 3 in North Carolina, local bar owners feel it is another blow to their businesses already struggling during the pandemic.

“We’re a small bar, we don’t have a lot of foot traffic. We’re trying to hold out but I don’t know how much longer we can," said Kasey Stack, manager at Smokey Joe’s Cafe.

Smokey Joe’s Cafe has been closed since restrictions started in March. Stack says reopening even at a 30-percent outdoor capacity is not worth it.

“With the rules right now at 30-percent outdoor capacity - 12 people - we can’t run a successful business with 12 people," she said.

In a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper cited COVID-19 trends and cooler weather as factors driving people indoors and increased numbers.

“North Carolina will remain paused in our current Phase 3 and we will adjust our indoor gathering limit from 25 down to 10 people,” he said.

Michael Felt, managing partner of The Blind Pig in NoDa, says closure for his business is just days away. His second business, NoDa 101, has also closed.

“It’s a little disheartening. We’ll probably have to close our doors after this weekend. It turns out people don’t like hanging outside when it’s below 60 degrees," he said.

Both are hoping December brings an early gift.

“What we’re looking for is the governor to let us open the inside. Until that day comes, unfortunately for myself, my partners and my employees, we’re going to be out of work," Felt added.

Until then, both businesses are reevaluating their options. The doors will also remain locked at Smokey Joe’s.

“It’s pretty disheartening because we were one of the first places to shut down and we haven’t contributed to the spread of this virus whatsoever," said Stack.

The extension for Phase 3 goes through at least Dec. 4.

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