MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Bars in North Carolina haven't been open long, and already, health officials in Mecklenburg County are concerned about the lack of COVID-19 safety precautions taking place in many of these businesses.
A viewer shared with WCNC Charlotte video inside of The Fairwood 226 in South End this past Saturday evening.
During the short clip, you can see many people packed inside not wearing masks and without proper social distancing. Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris says this is a risky trend they’ve begun to see.
“The bars are not being quite as compliant as the restaurants and other businesses in the community,” Harris said. “We are continuing to work with them.”
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said it has also made an effort to increase enforcement. Since the start of Phase 3 of reopening, officers have issued over 30 COVID-19 citations from bars, arcades, and hookah lounges, and even large private events.
“We’ve put a lot of resources toward house parties whether it be VRBO or other places that are being rented out for large house parties that we know contribute to the COVID spread,” CMPD Deputy Chief Jeff Estes said.
Outside the Charlotte city limits, large bar crowds are also a concern in areas like Cornelius.
Another video shared online shows a packed house inside Bin 110 over the weekend. This comes just days after Cornelius Mayor Woody Washam tested positive for COVID-19 and shared his concerns about the areas growing numbers.
“I continue to be concerned—not alarmed but very concerned about our numbers here in Cornelius as they continue to go up.,” Mayor Washam said.
The manager at The Fairwood 226 says they plan to release a statement on Thursday.
The owners of Bin 110 issued the following statement to WCNC Charlotte:
"COVID-19 has presented citizens and businesses alike, with an unprecedented and difficult set of situations to navigate. Moreover, a convergence of circumstances can make navigating these situations even more complex. The video taken at Bin110 on Friday, October 9th is an example of such, and chronicled a snapshot in time where we fell short of our standards.
As small business owners, we have been significantly impacted by the consequences of this pandemic. With that said, we know the guidelines of operating in today’s climate, and incidents such as last Friday only reinforce our resolve to get it right. The safety and well-being of our patrons is a top priority, and moving forward, we will work even more diligently to promote social distancing, adhere to indoor occupancy limitations, and provide masks to any patron that does not have one.
We would also like to thank the residents of the Lake Norman area for their continued support through these challenging times, and we look forward to providing a venue for the community to enjoy for many years to come."