Phase 2.5 Means Bars and Movie Theaters Remain Closed; Gyms and Playgrounds to Reopen

CHARLOTTE, NC – Disappointment and devastation for dozens of business owners in North Carolina after Governor Roy Cooper announced a move into Phase 2.5 of the state’s COVID reopen plan. The order begins on Friday evening and runs through October 2nd. 

“We’re encouraged, but cautious. Stability isn’t victory,” said Cooper, “the forest isn’t as thick, but we’re not out of the woods.”

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services,  new COVID-19 cases are stable, hospitalizations continue to decline and the percent of positive cases has remained flat since late July. 

Phase 2.5 Guidelines:

– Gatherings of 25 people indoors, 50 outdoors. 

– Playgrounds reopen

– Museums open at 50% capacity

– Gyms open at 30% capacity

“This is not only important for their customers, but their own staff to make sure they obey these rules,” said Cooper. 

Remaining closed under Phase 2.5:

– Bars / nightclubs

– Movie Theaters

– Amusement Parks

– Entertainment venues

“An extreme disappointment to us. And quite frankly, we do not feel it is fair to our industry,” said Dale Coleman, the VP of Stone Theaters. 

Coleman says their four locations in North Carolina have been closed since March. 

“It certainly is a concern of ours. Whether or not we’re going to be able to weather this storm,” said Coleman. 

Bar owners are also frustrated to learn they too must remain closed. 

“The bar is just hemorrhaging every month. And he doesn’t even want to talk about it or address it,” said Bob Klein, the owner of Stumptown Station in Matthews. 

He’s joined state trade associations to sue the governor to reopen. A judge tossed out that attempt. He’s also joined other bar owners in advocating for legislation that would allow bars to open under the same restrictions at restaurants. That bill was vetoed by Gov. Cooper.  

“I’m just going to advocate the hell out of our cause, you know and pray for the best. I don’t know what else to do,” said Klein. 

Klein says he’s concerned some businesses in the bar industry will have to close for good if rules don’t change this fall. 

“We’re not going anywhere. We’re in it for the long haul,” said Klein.