Local restaurants react to Governor’s order to close

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina restaurants and bars will be closed to sit-down service and limited to take-out or delivery orders starting at 5 pm Tuesday.

Grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores, are exempt from this order and will remain open, though they may not serve sit-down food.

Additionally, the order lifts some restrictions on unemployment benefits to help workers unemployed due to Covid-19 and those who are employed but will not receive a paycheck.

Additionally, it adds benefit eligibility for those out of work because they have the virus or must care for someone who is sick. 

“We did not come to this decision easily. But North Carolina must keep fighting this pandemic with the right weapons,” said Governor Cooper. “During this time of uncertainty, I will keep working to protect the health and safety of North Carolinians and keep our state’s economy afloat.” 

This Order will directly aid workers who may have lost wages in restaurants and meeting places due to mass gathering restrictions.

For example, workers who lose income due to tips or scheduled work hours, but are still employed, would be eligible for benefits because of this Executive Order.

Among other changes:

  • It removes the one-week waiting period to apply for unemployment payment for those workers who lose their jobs;
  • It removes the requirement that a person must be actively looking for another job during this time when many potential employers are closed and social distancing guidelines are in effect. 
  • It allows employees who lose their jobs or, in certain cases have their hours reduced due to Covid-19 to apply for unemployment benefits.
  • It directs that employers will not be held responsible for benefits paid as a direct result of these COVID-19 claims. 
  • It waives the requirement that people must apply for benefits in person; workers can apply for benefits online or by phone.

The full executive order is available HERE.

“It’s just weird because it’s a part of everyday life. Other than that it is just kind of weird and inconvenient for when we do run out of groceries,” said Nicole Missamer, Greenville resident.

Missamer and her friends won’t be sticking around favorite restaurants and bars after Governor Cooper’s order Tuesday. The ban on dining-in is affecting businesses, employees and customers.

“The main thing is definitely a decrease in sales and business. With going to just to-go we’ll also have reduced staffing so fewer hours for all the employees that we have,” said Scott Boyd, manager at Mellow Mushroom in Greenville.

Boyd said the mandate is drastic but has to be done.

“In some ways, I do think it is a little drastic. I think if people would adhere and don’t go out in large groups and restrict travel. That sort of thing will alleviate itself on its own and there wouldn’t be a necessity to take these measures,” said Boyd.

Boyd’s restaurant receives a lot of take-out and delivery orders, but the bulk of sales comes from dine-in customers.

“So it won’t be a huge adjustment. It will just be an adjustment getting away from doing dine-in doing strictly to go and delivery,” he said.

Missamer hopes this move will help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Thankfully it hasn’t spread as bad as it could and I think taking these measures to this extent I think it will help it not spread as much as it has in other places,” she said.

Mellow Mushroom is giving customers the option of coming inside to pick up orders, or having them brought to their cars.

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