Downtown restaurants not taking advantage of loosened restrictions


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –While the governor’s Stay-at-Home order remains in place until at least May 8th, additional restrictions in New Hanover County have now been lifted.
So are local businesses taking advantage?

One month ago, New Hanover County banned customers from going inside restaurants to pick up food orders. That meant restaurants had to get creative, setting up walk-up tents outside, or offering curbside pickup.

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“Basically we’re just having one parking spot, people will call, they’ll come pick it up right here at our parking spot, and just go our separate ways from that point on,” said Front Street Brewery employee Dustin Carroll.

That ban has now been lifted in the county, including in the City of Wilmington and the county’s three beach towns. However it appears restaurants in downtown Wilmington are still not letting people inside to pickup orders.

“I don’t know if that ban should necessarily have been lifted,” said YoSake general manager Kyra Tebo. “I think personally, it won’t really affect the way we’re doing curbside takeout.”

Tebo views it as a health risk for her employees and her customers.

“We definitely want to keep the social distancing as much as possible and having the masks as much as possible,” Tebo said. “So allowing people inside, I don’t think we’ll probably allow it too much.”

Carroll over at Front Street Brewery also says the curbside pickup is working for them, and they don’t plan to allow people inside at the moment.

“I believe for right now we’re going to keep it as-is until our owner decides to do what he needs to do,” he said.

Another business, Port City Cheesesteak, is serving people at the door. Manager Emily Browning says they don’t see a need to let people inside to pick up orders just yet.

“It seems like most people are just comfortable with waiting outside as long as the weather is good,” Browning said. “So we’re probably just going to keep it like this temporarily until people are feeling more comfortable about coming inside.”

Of the open restaurants in downtown Wilmington, it appears none are yet allowing customers inside. Many downtown restaurants remain closed completely.