NC restaurants expected to reopen May 22 with strict limits on seated dining

by Rick Henderson

Raleigh, NC – Gov. Roy Cooper will open Phase Two of his COVID-19 recovery plans Friday May 22, based on media reports and a document Carolina Journal obtained.

The five-page document covers mandates and suggestions for seated dining at restaurants, which Cooper banned March 17. The guidelines include:

  • Social Distancing and Minimizing Exposure
  • Cloth Face Coverings
  • Cleaning and Hygiene
  • Monitoring for Symptoms
  • Protecting Vulnerable Populations
  • Combating Misinformation
  • Water and Ventilation Systems

Restaurants can operate serving either 50% of the patrons allowed under fire code rules or no more than 12 people per 1,000 square feet of dining space if there aren’t any fire code rules.

Tables must be six feet apart. So must diners seated at a counter.

Customers at carryout lines and cash registers must stay six feet apart, and the businesses must mark spaces on the floor setting those distances.

Recommendations urge no more than six people at a table unless they’re from the same household, no communal (family-style) seating, keeping waitstaff six feet from diners and all employees six feet apart, and having patrons who wait outside maintain the six-foot boundary.

Along with restaurants and private clubs, Phase Two covers hair and nail salons, gyms, and other recreational facilities.

Roy Cooper is expected to announce the regulations at a 5 p.m. news briefing.