NC easing of restrictions: What you can do with the family this weekend

N.C. museums and family attractions widen capacity

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - COVID-19 restrictions are easing in North Carolina under a new executive order that goes into effect Friday at 5 p.m.

One of the most notable changes is that the alcohol sales curfew has been lifted. So, bars can stay open until 2 a.m. But there are also changes that will affect families.

For example, museums in North Carolina can open at 100 percent capacity under the new executive order. However, some museums may choose not to open at 100 percent capacity. For example, Discovery Place will continue to operate at 25 percent capacity.

“While we’re thrilled with the easing of restrictions and that field museums are safe, at this time, Discovery Place is going to maintain our current policies and see how this all goes,” Vice President of Discovery Place Science and Nature Heather Norton said.

The Discovery Place has been operating at 25 percent capacity since it reopened in September.

Gyms, pools, and amusement parks can open at 75 percent capacity indoors, and 100 percent capacity outdoors under the new order. It is welcome news for owner of Urban Air Adventure Park in Mint Hill and Cornelius, Chris Fasulka.

Fasulka says his indoor adventure parks were closed for about 6 months. They’ve operated at 30 percent capacity and most recently 50 percent capacity. He says the increase to 75 percent capacity will make a big difference especially for his newest location in Cornelius that just opened before the pandemic. He says the timing of the increase in capacity couldn’t be better.

“Next week, CMS spring break is like our super bowl per say,” Fasulka.

But other businesses may take longer to adapt to the changes. For example, the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center has been allowing about 60 people to swim at a time. Based on NCDHHS recommendations, they only allow one swimmer per lane. Or two swimmers per lane with a coach present.

Upping indoor pools to 75 percent capacity would allow for 1200 people inside the Aquatic Center. Facility Manager Brendan Cunliffe says they are still figuring out how they can increase capacity while still abiding by NCDHHS pool recommendations.

“Unfortunately for us that capacity is very large,” Cunliffe said. “So, we’re assessing our operations now, so we may not be able to fulfill that based on NCDHHS recommendations for pools and swimmers.”

North Carolina’s mask mandate is still in place. So, if you take the kids to any of these activities, children ages 5 years and older are required to wear a mask.

However, its advised you call before visiting a business because some are enforcing stricter requirements. Discovery Place is requiring children ages two and older to wear a mask.

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