Restaurants get ready for curfew’s end Friday

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — After almost a year of closures and restrictions, Governor Roy Cooper announced starting Friday, North Carolina would start easing some of those measures.

Here in the Cape Fear, it’s a big deal for many businesses, especially restaurants. Starting Friday, it could lead to longer hours and hopefully more revenue.

The stay-at-home order and curfew are among the many restrictions being lifted. It’s a measure many restaurant managers, like Ellie Craig at Front Street Brewery, are glad to move past.

“You know, the entire pandemic has been incredibly detrimental to our entire industry,” said Craig. “But the limitations were just that. And so we’re excited to see this ease a little bit and our return to some form of normalcy.”

In addition to longer hours, restaurants and bars will now be able to serve alcohol until 11 pm, hopefully bringing in more income for the industry, local businesses, and service workers.

“On top of the revenue, I think it’s very, very important for our staff,” Craig continued. “Those additional hours, those additional dollars and cents really mean the most to them. They’ve suffered the most in all of this.”

Indoor restaurant capacity will remain at 50 percent.

Though this is good news for area businesses, some, like Sweet N Savory owner Rob Shapiro still hope to move to full seating capacity in the near future.

According to Shapiro, “We’re seeing a whole lot of people back we haven’t seen in a year. And it’s wonderful to see them. And especially on weekends it’s hard to say hey it’s going to be an hour to get you seated, and you’re staring looking at half your tables that are empty.”

Though it’s important to support local businesses, it’s also vital to remain safe. That’s why businesses like Front Street Brewery want to remind the public they’re continuing to sanitize and social distance indoors while requiring masks.

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