by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
On Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper announced his executive order allowing for certain businesses to reopen at limited capacity. Rick Henderson of Carolina Journal writes:
While some businesses can conduct limited operations starting Friday at 5 p.m., entire classifications of commerce will remain locked up for another five weeks — if not longer. Mass gatherings also will remain limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors, with the exception of religious services and funerals…
Owners and patrons of gyms, indoor fitness centers, movie theaters and performance halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, public playgrounds, and bars will have to wait.
Restaurants have the ability to open, but at limited capacity. Henderson writes:
Even those businesses that resume operations Friday face occupancy caps. Restaurants can serve only 50% of their fire-code limits, with tables six feet apart and waitstaff following social-distancing practices…
Many that can reopen may choose not to. Lynn Minges, head of the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association, told Carolina Journal she expects only 50-60% of the 19,500 members of her group may reopen under the limits of Phase Two.
One that won’t is the popular watering hole Top of the Hill, at the corner of Franklin and Columbia streets in the heart of Chapel Hill.
Owner Scott Maitland told CJ in an email his business can’t operate profitably at 50% capacity “during the best of times.” With no students expected in town until early August, the earliest he anticipates seating diners is July 4.
Other businesses will be able to open at limited capacity as well. Henderson explains:
Public pools can open, at 50% capacity and with fewer than 10 people in the water per 1,000 square feet… Likewise, hair and nail salons (and tattoo parlors) must leave half their chairs or stations empty.