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Coronavirus Updates

Posted on: March 21, 2020

New Updated Guidance On Outdoor Seating For Restaurants And Bars

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As you know, guidance associated with COVID-19 is subject to change since we learn more every day. Today there was a change in the status of disease transmission that affects the enforcement of public health control measures.

In light of new information today regarding the presence of community spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina, local jurisdictions should enforce the more stringent Order of Abatement of Imminent Hazard issued by the Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services, which states that “seating areas of restaurants and bars constitute an imminent hazard for the spread of COVID-19.” Restaurants shall close all seating areas immediately and bars are directed to close immediately. Restaurants are restricted to carry-out, drive-through, and delivery to ensure food is available while maintaining social distancing. Restaurant staff are not permitted to serve patrons indoors or in the outdoor seating area, and all areas of North Carolina are subject to mass gathering restrictions and social distancing guidelines. If a restaurant has outdoor seating, onsite consumption in the outdoor seating area is not permitted pursuant to the Order of Abatement.

Local law enforcement agencies and district attorneys are generally responsible for enforcement of the Order (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-19.30(a)(2)) and the Order of Abatement. Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 130A-18 and 130A-25, failure to comply with the Order of Abatement issued by the Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services may result in injunctive relief against the establishment in question or prosecution for a misdemeanor offense. Violations of the Order are subject to prosecution pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-19.30(d) and are punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor in accordance with N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-288.20A.

The following is a link to the Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) for Executive Order No. 118 and Order of Abatement:

https://files.nc.gov/ncdhhs/documents/files/covid-19/Final-FAQ-on-EO-118-3-19-20.pdf

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