Restaurants continue fight to stay "alive" as COVID cases, temps rise

Several restaurants and bars are fearing for their businesses as they observe the rise of COVID cases and the Delta variant.

Durham bar Kingfisher is now requiring a vaccination card to enter the business. Outdoor seating will continue to be open to all, no questions asked. Meanwhile, Wye Hill in Raleigh is requiring masks while dining inside.

The latest round of COVID protocols come as intense heat bears down on central North Carolina, putting even more of a strain on small businesses.

"Part of being a business owner is making it work, keep it going alive or you're just going to fold up," said Dan Palatucci, the owner of Flying Biscuit Café in the Village District.

Palatucci says it has been difficult keeping the business on track during the pandemic and he's trying to adapt.

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"It's scary," the Flying Biscuit Café owner said. "It's just a challenge in every way (or) shape you slice it."

In caution for their own safety, Palatucci says many customers are still requesting to dine outdoor in 90-plus degree weather.

Other restaurants experiencing the same, like Mandolin. Sean Fowler, the owner of the restaurant, says regulars still opt to dine outdoors.

"I feel like we are fortunate to have a very strong and longtime customer base, who appreciate that we have been safely serving them in one way or another throughout this entire pandemic," said Fowler.

Garland Restaurant is taking a different approach and posting on Instagram that, "We've decided to move forward with full-service outdoor dining."

As of right now in Wake County, there is no countywide mask mandate inside restaurants. However, in neighboring counties like Durham and Orange, face coverings are required in establishments.

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