Skip to Content

‘All we want is just some chance to have any capacity,’ bar owner says

Click here for updates on this story

    Asheville, NC (WLOS) — Phase 2 of North Carolina’s reopening plans have been extended. Gov. Roy Cooper made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.

The biggest impacts will be felt in Asheville’s bars, music venues and restaurants. Businesses classified as bars will remain closed, while restaurants will be allowed to operate at a 50% capacity.

Phase 2 was set to run through July 17, but that has now been extended until at least Aug. 7.

“All we want is just some chance to have any capacity,” said Jess Mills, who is entertainment director at Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar.

Because it is classified as a bar, Off the Wagon is among businesses ordered to stay closed under Phase 2 guidelines. The bar opened one night earlier in the month in protest of the order. Mills said he believes the bar can open safely while following the same guidance set for similar establishments.

“We can follow the exact same guidelines as any restaurant. We’ve got a huge space in here. We’ve got assigned tables,” Mills said. “We actually have security that can go around and make sure people continue to socially distance.”

Mills said the business has not been forced to close permanently thanks to loans and funds in savings. However, he is not sure how much longer that will last.

Aside from frustrations from being kept from opening, Mills said bar owners are also frustrated because of a lack of communication from the governor.

“We are still waiting to hear about what is going to happen next. Even before yesterday, Gov. Cooper was not even giving us any indication of whether or not we would be involved in Phase 3,” Mills said.

Meanwhile, Michael Napelitano’s Manicomio Pizza has been open, but not for in-person service.

“I got a sign on the outside of my business. No customers allowed. Whoever thought that would happen in 1 million years?” Napelitano said.

Napelitano has kept the inside seating part of his business closed since the start of the statewide shutdown. He has outdoor seating and has been open for takeout.

“It’s not how I want to operate. It’s financially stressing, and it’s emotionally a stress,” Napelitano said.

He said his business is running at a near 35% deficit so far for July, which is supposed to be one of the busiest months of the year.

Despite the challenging times, and concern for other businesses, Napelitano believes the extension of Phase 2 is the right call.

“I just think we’ve got to just take it slow. Until there’s a vaccine, I don’t think anything is going to be back to normal,” Napelitano said.

Gyms are also included in businesses that are technically to remain closed during Phase 2. However, many have reopened, using the Attorney General’s clarification for indoor workouts necessary for those who have been prescribed by a doctor.

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

Article Topic Follows: Regional News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content