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Cornelius News

Many restaurants will open for dining at 5 Friday

Simpler, happier times: Alton Updike hosted Celebrity Bartending for Big Day at the Lake in 2018

May 21. Phase Two reopening—dubbed Safer at Home by Gov. Roy Cooper—begins at 5 pm on Friday, May 22.

Alton Updike, the owner of Alton’s Kitchen & Cocktails in Jetton Village, is ready.

He has pulled about half the tables from the main dining room and stored them in the private dining room, as per the governor’s newest order to reduce capacity by half.

Restaurants can have dine-in customers at 50 percent capacity for both indoor and outdoor seating. Bars, however, remain closed and breweries are in a gray area right now — some that serve food may open, those that don’t must be closed.

Updike is only taking tables of four or fewer, unless the guests have quarantined under a household. The restaurant will be operating with a smaller menu to keep things simpler, and there will be “very limited” seating at the bar areas at both Alton’s and at his Mooresville restaurant, Table 31.

The patio and breezeway will help accommodate customers, but Updike has lost about 30 percent of his staff. “We are currently hiring all positions,” he said.

Alton’s is “very fortunate,” based on its size—roughly 5,000 square feet—and a large open-air patio.

During Phase One, North Carolinians could return to malls and many stores, but the stay-home order remained.

Phase Two has some subtle, some not subtle, differences:

—“Stay at home” becomes “Safer at home.” It boils down to guidance more so than a law.

—Restaurants can reopen at 50 percent capacity for both indoor and outdoor seating, following social distancing and cleaning requirements.

—Bars remain closed.

—Childcare facilities, day camps, and overnight camps are allowed with enhanced cleaning and screening requirements. Swimming pools can also open at 50 percent capacity.

—Hair and nail salons can reopen at 50 percent capacity with social distancing and cleaning requirements.

—Gatherings of up to 25 are allowed outdoors. Mass gatherings are still banned, but up to 10 people can gather indoors, and up to 25 outdoors. During Phase One, only those up to 10 people were allowed.

Phase Two is the second of three phases in a statewide reopening plan plan. Phase Three, if all goes well with COVID-19 metrics improving, will commence in five weeks.

Phase Three loosens rules around mass gatherings, gyms, bars and other businesses.