Some South End bars busy Wednesday before Thanksgiving, customers adjust to stricter mask mandate

New mask mandate on busy night for bars

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is typically a busy night for bars. Friends reconnect, head out, meet up.

So on a typical year, Charlotte’s hot spots, like South End, would be packed. We went to check it out Wednesday night to see how things were looking.

Many bars and customers were following the rules and enforcing the mask mandate. Other bars were more crowded and less people wore masks.

WBTV News crews spoke with several bar managers who said when you drive by and see a long line or crowd outside, it’s not giving the full picture of what they’re trying to do inside to keep people safe.

One of those bars was Lost & Found in South End. At around 9 p.m., the line to get in was a few dozen deep. And once inside, not everyone was wearing a mask.

The general manager spoke with a WBTV News reporter and explained there’s a line because they’re not letting as many people in. He also said they hired more than a dozen bouncers Wednesday night to help enforce the mask mandate.

While that responsibility to enforce the mask mandate falls on the business itself, he says it also needs to be up to the customers to keep people safe.

Similar lines formed down the street at Hoppin and other bars in South End. Mask wearing was a mix.

Many customers wore it inside at their tables and walking from place to place. Others had it around their chin or won’t wearing one at all.

Tavern on the Tracks management put signs up immediately telling people of the new mask rules, reminding people they needed to wear a mask at their table unless they were actively eating or drinking.

The manager at Tavern said most people were doing what they were supposed to but said Wednesday was about educating their customers. Many said they didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing.

“I feel great. You know what, I feel like coming to a place like Tavern. Everyone follows social distancing, everyone’s following rules. Everyone’s acting like they got some sense. And I feel like that’s what we all need to do, act like we have some sense,” said one customer at Tavern on the Tracks.

WBTV News reached out to the Mecklenburg County Health department about possible crowds on Wednesday night. Here’s the statement we received from Gibbie Harris.

“Gatherings of any size are proving to be a significant mode of transmission for COVID-19, especially those where there is little masking and social distancing. As our metrics continue to trend up and we move into a holiday season that normally involves many parties and much shopping, we strongly recommend that people consider limiting their exposure to others by avoiding gatherings, crowded stores, crowded restaurants and crowded bars. Everyone should wear their mask when they are not at home. Be safe this holiday season and consider keeping others safe as well.”

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.