As Cooper’s Phase 3 approaches, outside bars, movie theaters can open

NORTH CAROLINA — During Wednesday’s press conference, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that Phase 3 will begin this Friday evening, allowing outside bar areas, movie theaters, amusement parks, and other venues to open at limited capacity.

Starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 2, Phase 3 three will allow additional openings and capacity for certain businesses, but the current limits on mass gatherings and the curfew on in-person alcohol sales will remain.

Under Cooper’s latest executive order — EO169 — bars will be allowed to open outdoor areas at 30% capacity or 100 patrons, whichever is less. Bars have been one of the hardest-hit small businesses under Cooper’s executive orders. Despite a lawsuit filed by the North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association, the Governor’s office has held firm, claiming that bars are among the highest-risk settings for Covid-19 transmission.


While bar areas at restaurants, breweries and distilleries, and bottle shops have all been allowed to operate — albeit it at reduced capacity — traditional bars and taverns have been shuttered for over half a year. Several proposals to help these establishments survive, including suggested legislation to allow take-away drinks and outside service, have not come to fruition.

Cooper said he would revisit the issue in three weeks (at which point bars will have been closed for seven months).

Other long-shuttered businesses will be allowed to open during Phase 3, including amusement parks (30% capacity), movie theaters (30% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less), and outside venues. Indoor amusement park rides and attractions are still closed under the Governor’s latest order, although indoor concession, restroom, and restaurant areas may be open at outdoor amusement parks.

Venues will fall into two categories, with larger venues limited to 7% capacity with additional safety regulations and smaller venues limited to 30% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. Fitness and physical activity facilities can also operate with a limit of 12 guests per 1,000 square feet of space.

Cooper’s previous Phase 2.5 guidelines on mass gatherings won’t change, with limits on 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors still applying. Cooper’s 11 p.m. curfew for on-premises alcohol consumption has been extended.

Eo169 Phase 3 Pcd by Ben Schachtman on Scribd

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