‘It’s disheartening’: Bars can reopen with only outdoor seating in North Carolina’s Phase 3

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – North Carolina bars are making a comeback later this week, but with some restrictive guidelines.

Bars can only reopen their outdoor spaces at 30 percent capacity as we move into Phase 3 on Friday.

“It’s disheartening, it’s a little bit of a slap in the face; not a little bit, it’s a lot of bit,” said Seth Mapes, the owner of The Bearded Goat.

Mapes is preparing to reopen the Bearded Goat in downtown Greensboro this weekend. He says the state’s next phase of recovery still isn’t providing a practical path for struggling bar owners.

“Who are they to say that we can only serve outside, when you are allowing people to be able to go into a restaurant and sit at the bar? Like there is no difference in my mind,” Mapes said.

There is patio space at The Bearded Goat, but it’s limited. Mapes is already working with the city to potentially approve additional seating along Lewis Street to expand their outdoor area.

“All you can do is bury your head and just keep going and hope for the best, and that’s what we are doing right now,” Mapes said.

Mapes says despite the limitations, he doesn’t want to miss his first opportunity to welcome everyone back after a six-month shutdown.

“Us being a neighborhood bar, I think it’s only right for us to try and give it a go this weekend and see if it is worth it, and after this weekend if it isn’t worth it and it just doesn’t make sense then maybe we wait until the 23rd and see what the news is,” Mapes said.

If a bar does not have a stated outdoor occupancy amount, it can serve no more than 7 people for every one-thousand square feet of the outdoor area square footage.

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