Bar Owners Look For Alternatives As NC Health Officials Warn Of Their Dangers During The Pandemic
CHARLOTTE, NC – After four years in business, Abari Game bar in NODA is closing for good. The owner posted on Facebook that they would be unable to stay at their current location since they are unable to open under the state’s phase two reopen plan.
“We don’t understand why we don’t have the same opportunity to do the same thing,” said Bob Klein, the owner of Stumptown Station in Matthews.
He says he doesn’t plan on closing for good. But he would like the state to treat bars more like restaurants.
Currently under the phase two plan, restaurants can open with limited capacity, distancing and masks. More than 1,000 licensed bars in the state are unable to do so.
“When they say that bars are closed down, it’s actually the specific licensing that we have,” said Klein.
He says they could apply for a restaurant license to start letting people back in, but that takes time and money.
“Right down to getting fire marshals in there, mayor to sign off on it. A big stack of paperwork, plus a nice big fat check for a few thousands dollars to roll up to Raleigh. Just to get interviewed to see if we can even get the license,” explained Klein.
“We know that these are high transmission areas, and that’s why they have remained closed,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
North Carolina health experts caution about reopening bars, saying the virus can easily spread when:
– People are indoors
– People are speaking loudly, singing or cheering
– Alcohol Impacts decisions and distancing.
Cooper pointed to situations in other states that saw surges as bars opened back up.
“Governor Abbott of Texas said in all of his reopening, the thing that he regrets the most is reopening bars,” said Cooper.
Klein says he’ll follow the rules, but he just wants a fair process.
“You’re going to hand pick and choose which ones can stay open and which ones cannot. That’s discrimination. You can’t do that,” said Klein.