Governor Roy Cooper announced on Sept. 30 that North Carolina will move forward to Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. Under Phase 3, bars, movie theaters and amusement parks are allowed to open with a limited capacity of 30% or 100 people. Outdoor venues such as stadiums are now allowed to open at 7% capacity and the 11 p.m. alcohol sale for in-person consumption is still effective and will be extended until Oct. 23.
The opening of bars means an increased number of people will come into the uptown area once again since the lockdown in March. Following the start of Phase 3, some bars, such as Fifth Street Distillery, have said they will not make attendees wear face masks if they don’t want to. However, it will offer hand sanitizer to guests and will use plastic cups for drinks instead of regular glasses.
We, the editorial staff of The East Carolinian, believe opening bars is good for North Carolina’s economy and locally owned businesses, but a COVID-19 spike could potentially happen if people are not cautious of one another and understand there’s still a pandemic currently happening.
East Carolina University has been known to have a reputation as a “party school,” so a large number of college students are likely to attend the bars located in Uptown Greenville. After not being able to go out to bars or clubs for almost seven months, young adults may attend these social gatherings without the thought of wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
Although wearing a mask to the bar is not ideal and something people want to go through, we have to remember that COVID-19 is still happening. The numbers of confirmed cases may be decreasing in Pitt County, but we should not be ignorant, and a spike could happen if we’re not careful.