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'I don't know what to do other than close' | Businesses continue to suffer under Phase 2

To help bars, lawmakers tried to pass a bill that would allow to-go cocktails. It cleared the House, but not the Senate.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Governor Roy Cooper said Phase 2 of North Carolina's reopening plan will last at least another three weeks, until August 7. 

The Governor extended it earlier this week.

RELATED: Curve in Context | Surge in new COVID-19 cases ahead of North Carolina phase 3 reopening decision

Gyms, bars and other business owners are taking the brunt of the restrictions.

"I don't know what else to do other than close at this point," Aaron Taylor said. 

Taylor owns Taylor's Tavern in Lexington. He said he's temporarily closing.

"If the Governor said 'the numbers have to be here,' we'd at least have hope but right now there's isn't an end to the road, it just goes on forever."

A standstill in Phase 2 means the continued closure of places like movie theaters, bars and gyms.

RELATED: Gov. Roy Cooper vetoes string of North Carolina reopening bills

Dixon Douglas owns CycleBar in Winston-Salem.

"I’ve done everything I possibly can except for making cubicles actually in my gym," Douglas explained of the safety measures he's taken. "But meanwhile there are some gyms that are opening because of the loophole in the Executive Order."

You can listen to more of his concerns during a virtual town hall the Triad Food & Beverage Coalition hosted.

NC Legislative Update

... Join us for our live town hall event featuring NC House Representative Derwin Montgomery and House Majority Whip Jon Hardister with Moderator Algenon Cash.

Posted by Triad Food & Beverage Coalition on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

State Representative Derwin Montgomery thinks blanket closures aren’t working, and reopening businesses should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

"Fitness gyms across the state are different and we have to look at a nuance approach to policy-making," Montgomery explained. "Bills have come forward that could change the business model that could allow for takeout and outdoor scenarios for bars."

To help bars, lawmakers tried to pass a bill that would allow to-go cocktails. Other states have passed a similar bill.

RELATED: Why breweries, not bars, were able to open under Phase 2 plans

It cleared the House, but not the Senate.

"The Senate just didn’t like it, I’m not exactly sure why," Guilford County Representative Jon Hardister said. "Maybe they're worried about safety even though I don’t agree with that concern, you can buy other things in the store as long as it's sealed and prepared to go."

Both Montgomery and Hardister voted in favor of it.

RELATED: Triad lawmaker disappointed with Gov. Cooper's decision to remain in Phase 2

That bill, like others that could offer some relief to small businesses, will be looked at again when the legislative session picks back up in September according to Hardister.

"As Derwin said, the virus isn’t going away any time soon and even when businesses reopen your foot traffic is going to be down and a lot of people probably feel more comfortable taking things to-go, so it would be a lifeline that would help long-term." 

Montgomery said we're past the point of thinking about quick emergency-relief. Long-term relief is needed for businesses. 

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