North Carolina soon could enter the final phase of reopening amid the novel coronavirus. Some Charlotte area businesses are ready with safety plans once that is allowed, while at least one vows not to wait much longer to reopen.
Bowlers could see every other lane in use and some movie theater patrons would be required to wear masks. There also will be temperature checks for guests before they hit the gym.
The final phase of the state’s stay-at-home order that would reopen all businesses is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. June 26.
But Gov. Roy Cooper has not decided whether to move to Phase 2.5 or Phase 3 as COVID-19 cases continue to spike. He is expected to disclose his plans in the next few days.
All non-essential N.C. businesses were ordered to close March 17 to stop the coronavirus spread.
Phase 2 started May 22, allowing restaurants, personal care services and houses of worship to open with limited capacity. But due to an increase in coronavirus cases, bars, fitness centers and entertainment venues could not open as originally planned then.
NC Senate passes ‘proactive’ bill that could reopen bars and gyms
For now, here’s what businesses that could open in Phase 3 have planned in the Charlotte area.
Paul Kreins is willing to risk a fine or even jail to reopen bowling at his Victory Lanes Events & Entertainment Center in Mooresville June 26, even if Cooper changes his mind about the timing of Phase 3.
Kreins, the local Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, said he has lost $750,000 in revenue so far during the coronavirus closing. He questions the fairness of allowing small restaurants and retailers with a greater potential for crowding to reopen already.
“We are officially in Phase ‘Enough is Enough,’ ” Kreins told the Observer.
In an email, he also assured the center’s 1,000 bowling league players that numerous COVID-19 preventive measures will greet them when the lanes reopen.
Customers who don’t have their own bowling balls, for instance, will choose a pre-sanitized house ball from an attendant. To ensure social distancing of 8 to 10 feet, a lane will remain dark between any lanes in use.
Bowling shoes will be sanitized and disinfected after each use, and employees will wear masks and be temperature-screened every day before clocking in.
Staff at the entrances and exits of the 48,000-square-foot center also will make sure people are social distancing. And floor decals will denote proper social distancing as well.
Chris Narveson owns two area Orangetheory locations, in Fort Mill, S.C., and Charlotte. Because Orangetheory operates in every state, Narveson said the company has a medical advisory board ensuring guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are followed at each location.
In South Carolina, Narveson said that includes checking guests’ temperatures upon arrival, maintaining social distance between participants and deep cleaning the studio after each class.
Before opening, Narveson said the biggest challenge is “confusion.”
“If there’s no leadership or somebody coming in and giving you any guidance it’s really kind of hard to know what’s going on,” Narveson said. “You hang on to every thread when the governor speaks but then nothing’s said or (there’s) something that you don’t understand, you have to wait till the next time he speaks.”
Yoga studios are also considered gyms in the state’s reopening plan.
Craig Rasmussen, one of the NoDa Yoga owners, said the studio’s reopening plan will depend on state guidance on capacity limits and requirements.
Rasmussen said the studio is preparing for hosting fewer classes to allow for more time to clean between them, and taping off areas for social distancing. The studio has been conducting classes virtually, and some instructors might not be comfortable teaching physical classes yet, Rasmussen said, which could affect scheduling.
NoDa Yoga is also considering asking participants to bring some of their own equipment and trying to implement temperature checks.
Plans for bars
Rob Nixon, the owner of the Rabbit Hole and Jackalope Jacks, said as soon as the state gives the “green light,” he’ll reopen his bars.
They will implement similar procedures other businesses have done, including temperature checks, hand sanitizer on each table and staff wearing face masks.
The hardest part of reopening will be restocking the alcohol — beer has a limited shelf life — and staffing, Nixon said. Some staffers may be reluctant to come back when they’re receiving stimulus money and unemployment, he said.
Nixon expects to open at 50% capacity whenever Phase 3 begins, but doesn’t think things will return to normal for several years, he said.
Jody Sullivan, owner of Roxbury Night Club in uptown, said his club has been preparing to reopen since before Phase 2 because he thought bars would be included with restaurants.
He expects the bar to operate at half capacity, with all employees wearing face masks and applying hand sanitizer after each drink is made. The space allows for plenty of social distancing with multiple floors and a large patio.
You’ll see a lot of changes next time you are able to go to the movies.
Regal, with about nine Charlotte area locations, will reopen theaters July 10, according to the company website. It did not specify if all theaters will open.
Safety and health procedures will include contactless options and sanitizing seating with an electrostatic “fogger” equipment. Workers and guests will be required to wear masks, and they will be made available as needed, according to the website.
Theaters will offer a reduced menu, no self-service stands or refills. Reserved seating will leave two empty seats or one empty recliner between groups.
AMC Theatres, with four Charlotte-area venues, plans to reopen in July, CEO Adam Aron said in the company’s first-quarter results statement.
The theaters will open at 30% capacity with enhanced cleanings. Workers will be required to wear face coverings, as will customers.
Texas-based Studio Movie Grill, with one location in the University area, will begin re-opening theaters in phases but has not said when the Charlotte theater could open.
“Initially, we’ll play previously released films and alternative content,” the company stated on its website. Ticket will be $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors at first.
Along with more deep cleanings, theaters will have touchless food ordering and delivery, fewer showtimes, and limited seating at 50% capacity. And workers will be required to wear face coverings although customers will not.
Southeast Cinemas with theaters in Concord and Albemarle, expects to open theaters July 3. To reduce touchpoints, tickets can be purchased and stored on the app to be scanned.
Cinemark said Wednesday it will reopen N.C. theaters July 10, including Charlotte’s Cinemark Movie Bistro. The Cinemark Tinseltown USA in Salisbury will open July 17.
The popular amusement park on the North Carolina-South Carolina line is tentatively scheduled to reopen July 27, N.C. Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said this month.
As of June 19, Carowinds hadn’t officially announced when the park will open.
In May, Carowinds parent company Cedar Fair said it plans to increase the use of its mobile apps at its parks when they reopen to promote a healthy experience. Changes will allow the parks to open with capacity limitations.
All guests entering the parks will be required to complete an initial health check, and people with the park’s mobile app can complete most aspects of the health questionnaire online prior to visiting.
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