CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association is asking state leaders to end the curfew and allow restaurants and bars to allow more customers inside.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s modified state-at-home order expires on Sunday, Feb. 28.
There has been no indication if the governor will extend or end the executive order. The governor will have a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the next steps.
In that executive order, all on-site alcohol sales must end at 9 p.m., and restaurants and bars must close by 10 p.m.
Currently, bars can only serve people at a limited capacity on outside patios.
With more vaccinations getting administered and COVID-19 trends stabilizing, the North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association is asking the governor to allow bars and restaurants to increase the patrons permitted inside and be allowed to stay open later.
On Tuesday, N.C. health officials reported 1,563 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 1,514 new cases – both the lowest total since November.
“We’re not asking to go back to business as usual,” said Zack Medford, president of the N.C. Bar and Tavern Association. “We’re just asking for Gov. Roy Cooper to turn the dimmer switch up a notch. We’re asking him to allow bars to operate at 30 percent capacity inside, and let them serve until 11 p.m. We can do it safely. We can do it wearing masks, and we can do it socially distant.”
The North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association argues that private bars, most of which have been closed for nearly a year, need to be permitted to re-open.
“NCBATA has been working with the Governor’s Office, along with General Assembly leadership on both sides of the aisle, to help private bars get their doors back open,” the North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association said. “The association has also been in contact with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to create guidelines for bars to keep their guests safe.”
The North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association said it proposed “Health Guidance to Allow Bars to Reopen Safely” last September, that urges reopened bars to require masks, social-distance, take names for contact tracing and observe all capacity and hours restrictions.
“No one knows better than bar owners that this pandemic is an immediate threat to our community and that we must all do our part to help stop the spread of Covid19,” said Medford. “Bar owners know the stakes, and are willing to follow this guidance to the absolute best of their ability.”