NCRLA is urging the governor to reopen restaurants for traditional dining ahead of Cooper's phased reopening plan. "Reopening restaurants in mid-May for patio and dine-in service could be the difference between survival and permanent closure for many restaurants," the group wrote in the letter.
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On Blount Street, Joseph Jeffers, co-owner of Stanbury, is managing to keep his neighborhood farm-to-table restaurant open with drastically-reduced staff and offering take-out-only orders three nights a week.
Jeffers is doubtful the public's COVID-comfort level is at a point where he could justify hiring back workers for dine-in customers.
"We'd probably just stick to take-out until we could open at maybe 60 percent capacity," Jeffers said. "It's about what people are comfortable with. We want to be at a point where we're comfortable having people inside the restaurant too; where we feel safe for the guests and all our employees feel safe."
NCRLA insists eateries are set to adopt strict new COVID-prevention health safety rules -- with socially-distanced tables and reduced capacities.
Calling it a matter of financial “survival,” North Carolina’s Restaurant & Lodging Association is urging Governor Cooper to allow restaurants to reopen to dine-in customers. We’re asking Raleigh diners if they’re comfortable going back inside. #abc11 #Covid_19 pic.twitter.com/fSzz3CiGf0— Joel Brown (@JoelBrownABC11) May 2, 2020
Even so, many wary diners waiting on curbside orders on Person Street were urging a slower approach.
"My boyfriend and I do love to go out. But right now, I think being in quarantine for 40 plus days we're just a little hesitant (to dine-in)," said Corinne McCormick.
Ryan Grover added, "Safety is number 1 and it's not worth sitting inside (a restaurant) when I can just take (the food) home, right."
Governor Cooper's phased plan allows for a limited reopening of restaurants and bars in phase 2 -- which the plan says would come two to three weeks after phase 1 begins. Depending on the trend lines of positive COVID-19 cases, phase 1 could begin as early as May 8.
READ MORE: North Carolina Stay-at-Home order extended until May 8, Gov. Roy Cooper announces