Extension Of COVID-19 Phase Two For Five Weeks; Bars And Gyms To Remain Closed
CHARLOTTE, NC – Thousands of businesses across North Carolina remain closed following Governor Cooper’s decision to extend the “Phase Two” order another five weeks.
The extension means gyms, bars, and entertainment venues will be closed until at least mid September.
“Money has been flying out of our pockets every month,” said Bob Klein, the co-owner of Stumptown Station.
It’s a high end cocktail bar in Matthews.
“We pretty much built the bar from the ground up and we take pride in the little things in there,” said Klein.
Klein says they were able to pay employees for a couple months, but have since had to furlough and lay people off. It’s been 140 days.
“We had to close our doors at 5:00 p.m. on St. Patrick’s day. It’s been tough. It’s been really tough,” said Klein.
On Wednesday, Governor Cooper announced the safer at home phase two will be extended for an additional five weeks.
“Hold on to that hope. Keep wearing your mask and know that these difficult times won’t last forever. But our strength and resilience will,” said Cooper.
Key metrics remain level, but state health officials say the number of cases remains high and that bars and gyms are areas of high virus transmission.
“One of the things we don’t want to do is go backwards,” said Cooper citing other states who’ve had to go back on their reopen plan.
Cooper vetoed Legislation to open bars several months ago. Owners like Klein believe they could operate under the same capacity and distancing restrictions as restaurants.
“It just needs to be fair. You either close all the restaurants down and everybody who’s serving food and drinks. Or you open them all up and everybody has to play by the same rules,” said Klein.
But for now, Cooper’s move means bars will remain closed. People, out of work. For now.
“We’re not going anywhere. Stumptown will not go anywhere. We’ll do what we need to do to stay open,” said Klein.