The year of the coronavirus is a strange one and it appears that this year June 26 comes on Friday, Oct. 2.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday, Sept. 30 that the state would be moving into Phase 3 of his slow, slower, slowest reopening plan at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2. Under the original slow reopening plan Cooper had said Phase 3 would begin on June 26.
Phase 3 doesn’t make many changes to businesses that were allowed to open under Phase 2 or Phase 2.5, but it does allow bars, which have now been completely closed for about six months, to kinda sorta reopen.
Bars can only serve customers outside and at 30 percent of the outdoor seating capacity. Restaurants, breweries, brewpubs, taprooms, wineries and distilleries are allowed to serve alcoholic beverages indoors at 50 percent of their occupancy. But bars cannot serve anyone inside and are restricted to 30 percent of outdoor capacity. This is all according to Cooper based on “the science, the data and the facts,” so somewhere there must be some science, data and facts that prove someone drinking an alcoholic beverage at a bar is far more likely to contract COVID-19 than someone drinking an alcoholic beverage at a restaurant, brewery, brewpub, taproom, winery or distillery.
One thing that is consistent is that alcoholic beverages cannot be served after 11 p.m.
If this were actually June 26, allowing bars to open for outdoor service only might make sense, but it is October. Not many people want to be sitting around outside when its 40 degrees, even if it’s not raining.
Movie theaters, entertainment spaces and amusement parks can open at 30 percent capacity with the odd twist that amusement parks can’t open any indoor rides at all.
Outdoor venues with a capacity of more than 10,000 can open at 7 percent, while smaller outdoor venues can open at 30 percent or 100 guests, whichever is less.
The limits for mass gatherings that aren’t at a venue remain the same with 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
The Phase 3 plan is supposed to stay into effect until Oct. 23, but this year Oct. 23 may come on Nov. 26 or Dec. 14.