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Moffitt files bill that would remove bar and restaurant capacity limits

State Rep. Tim Moffitt filed a bill Wednesday allowing bars and restaurants to reopen and resume normal business operations, provided certain health and safety measures are observed.


The bill also applies to cideries, wineries, and breweries. If passed, H 211, Reopen Bills and Restaurants, will remove the pandemic-related occupancy limits for restaurants and bars, including those issued by executive order or by county or municipal ordinances.

"The hospitality industry lies at the heart of who we are as North Carolinians," Moffitt, who is chair of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee, said in a news release. "The pandemic has threatened to leave permanent scars in our communities and if we continue to treat these businesses differently than our neighboring states, the legacy will lasts for decades. I believe we can trust our small businesses to open and operate in a thoughtful, safe and appropriate manner, as many other non-hospitality businesses are doing. These businesses have been disproportionately impacted and it is my belief that we are at a point, where following appropriate guidelines should allow for re-opening.

If the legislation passes, North Carolina would join other states across the South that have removed capacity restrictions. Tennessee lifted similar restrictions in May 2020, followed by Georgia in June, Florida in September, South Carolina in October, and most recently, Virginia in the past month.

Moffitt's bill stipulates these establishments must require employees to undergo temperature screenings and answer a health questionnaire regarding Covid exposure each day prior to beginning work. It would also prohibit any employee from working who presents with Covid symptoms, including a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher. Moreover, H211 mandates a frequent and thorough cleaning regimen for bars and restaurants and limits the number of guests seated at each table.