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Phase 3 of N.C. Reopening To Begin Friday. What Changes?

Bars, movie theaters and entertainment venues allowed to reopen with restrictions

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At a press conference this afternoon, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper announced Phase 3 of the N.C. reopening plan will take effect on Friday at 5 p.m., allowing bars, movie theaters, outdoor entertainment venues and convention centers to begin reopening at 30% capacity. 

Here are some key changes included in Phase 3 of the N.C. reopening plan: 

  • Bars will be allowed to open, but only outdoors, at 30% of their outdoor capacity or for 100 guests, whichever is smaller. The 11 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales for on-site consumption will remain in place. 
  • As Cooper announced last week, large outdoor entertainment venues that seat more than 10,000 people, such as Bank of America Stadium, will be allowed to reopen at 7% capacity. New today: Smaller outdoor entertainment venues may open at 30% capacity or for 100 guests, whichever is smaller. 
  • Movie theaters and conference centers may open indoor spaces at 30% capacity, or for 100 seated guests, whichever is less. For movie theaters, that means 100 guests per theater, not the establishment as a whole. 
  • Amusement parks may open at 30% capacity, but only for outdoor attractions. 
  • Reception venues may open at 30% capacity or for 100 seated guests, whichever is smaller. This does not include “cocktail hours” or other standing receptions. 
  • Bingo parlors and other gaming establishments may reopen at 30% capacity or for 100 guests, whichever is smaller. 

According to Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Phase 3 of the N.C. reopening plan is being implemented because of stable trends in four key COVID-19 metrics statewide: COVID-like syndromic cases, confirmed cases, hospitalizations and test-positivity rates. As of today, Cooper stated the state has seen 210,632 cases; 1,495 new cases reported since yesterday; 956 people in the hospital; and 3,532 deaths. 

Cohen and Cooper both stressed the importance of continuing to implement practices that have proven to show results, including wearing masks in public, standing 6 feet apart and washing hands regularly. 

Phase 3 of the N.C. reopening plan is set to run through Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. at the earliest. You can read the entire Phase 3 order here. In August, we spoke with Jackie DeLoach of Hattie’s Tap & Tavern and Zach Pulliam of the now-closed Abari Game Bar about the effects of COVID-19 closures on local bars in Episode 24 of our Nooze Hounds podcast

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