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NC restaurants, bars ordered to close over coronavirus

Governor Cooper said North Carolina bars and restaurants can still have take-out and delivery operations, but cannot have customers in the dining room.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order to close all restaurants and bars to dine-in customers in North Carolina in an effort to fight the coronavirus outbreak. 

He announced the order during a press conference on Tuesday. 

Businesses can still do take-out and delivery operations, but dining rooms will be closed to customers. 

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"North Carolina must keep fighting this pandemic with the right weapons," said Cooper

Previously, bars and restaurants were exempted from Cooper's prohibition of assemblies of more than 100 people. 

Cooper's order also expands unemployment benefits to help employees struggling because of the virus. 

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So far, there are 41 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina, according to NCDHHS and local health officials. 

WFMY News 2 caught up with one restaurant that closed a day before the executive order to evaluate the next steps: M'Coul's Public House in downtown Greensboro. 

Although March 17th - St. Patrick's Day - is their busiest day of the year, general manager Patrick Roby says the business wasn't worth the risk. 

"We definitely wanted to take a day or two to figure out what we need to do moving forward," he said, "We know we just didn't want to flood the bar with a ton of people at a very sensitive time. Even though it is a big day for us we don't want to be ground zero or a breeding ground for Guilford County contamination. We felt like we had that obligation there."

Roby says M'Coul's plans to start serving take-out orders in the near future. On Wednesday, they're implementing a meal program for the staff - so employees can swing by to pick up a to-go meal during these uncertain times.

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