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Monday, May 27, 2024

Governor Cooper announces ‘Phase Two’ of reopening, here’s what ‘safer at home’ means [Free read]

Bluestar is now open in Leland. The restaurant is the first brick and mortar location for the owner and chef behind Steviemack’s International Food Truck. (Port City Daily photo |BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)
Restaurants can begin opening as the state moves into Phase II on Friday. (Port City Daily photo |BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)

NORTH CAROLINA — Governor Roy Cooper has announced that on Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m., North Carolina will enter into phase two of the state’s three-phase reopening plan; the move officially ends the ‘stay-at-home’ order that’s been in place for nearly two months and relaxes, but doesn’t eliminate, restrictions on businesses.

While Phase one opened relatively few additional commercial services for residents, Phase two will see some significant changes in the way things operate including the reopening of restaurants albeit at 50% operating capacity.

The Governor’s so-called ‘safer at home’ policy for Phase 2 is ‘more cautious’ than originally planned. Thus, despite earlier indications that other businesses would open, bars, nightclubs, indoor entertainment facilities, and indoor gyms will remain shuttered. Cooper noted that the potential for the spread of Covid-19 in indoor settings was “significant.”

Personal care businesses like hair salons, tattoo parlors, and massage therapy facilities will be allowed to open at 50% capacity with sanitization and safety requirements, including face coverings and limited the number of people in waiting areas.

The mass gathering regulations will limit indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 25.

You can find the complete Executive Order 141 here.

So what about restaurants?

On Tuesday the Department of Health and Human Resouces sent out a list of recommendations and requirements for restaurants to reopen.

The following list outlines the new changes for the state entering Phase II.

  • Lift Stay At Home order with strong encouragement for vulnerable populations to continue staying at home to stay safe.
  • Allow limited opening of restaurants, personal care services and other businesses that can follow safety protocols, including the potential need to reduce capacity.
  • Allow gathering at places such as houses of worship and entertainment venues at reduced capacity.
  • Increase the number of people allowed at gatherings.
  • Continue rigorous restrictions on nursing homes and other congregate care settings.

On Tuesday the state offered a comprehensive list of requirements for restaurants in order to reopen, including operating at 50% capacity for the duration of Phase II.

While the list of recommendations was lengthy, the actual requirements for restaurants were much less intense.

New Requirements include:

  • Ensure social distancing by arranging tables and seating to achieve at least 6-foot separation between parties for indoor and outdoor dining. Each group of people sitting at a counter should be separated by six (6) feet.
  • Permit no more than 50% of maximum occupancy as stated in fire capacity. Restaurants may permit up to 12 people per 1,000 feet if there is not a fire code number available.
  • Post the reduced “Emergency Maximum Capacity” in a conspicuous place. Sign templates are available in English and Spanish on the NC DHHS COVID-19 response site.
  • Post signage reminding people about social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from others). Know Your W’s sign templates are available in English and Spanish on the NC DHHS COVID-19 response website.
  • Mark six (6) feet of spacing in lines at high-traffic areas for customers, such as any cash register or any place where customers wait to be seated
  • Perform ongoing and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas (e.g., doors, doorknobs, rails) with an EPA approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), and increasing disinfection during peak times or high customer density times and all shared objects (e.g., payment terminals, tables, countertops/bars, receipt trays, condiment holders) between use.
  • Disinfect dining tables and booths, including condiment containers and reusable menus, between each use, allowing the disinfectant to sit for the necessary contact time recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Promote frequent use of handwashing and hand sanitizer for wait/food service staff upon reporting to work and frequently throughout a shift. Hand washing is required to at least meet the requirements as specified in the North Carolina Food Code Manual, Sections 2-301.12, 2-301.14, and 2-301.15.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening (use this standard interview questionnaire) (English|Spanish) of employees at entrance with immediately sending symptomatic workers home to isolate.
  • Post signage at the main entrance requesting that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter, such as Know Your Ws/Stop if You Have Symptoms flyers (English Color, Black & White; Spanish – Color, Black & White).
  • Employees who have symptoms when they arrive at work or become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home

You can view the entire guide below which includes the other recommendations for restaurants.

NC DHHS Interim Guidance fo… by Michael Praats on Scribd

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