CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For the first time in nearly a year, the doors are opened back up on Saturday at the nightclubs in Uptown Charlotte. The excitement to bring life back into a ghost-town comes with safety precautions required by state health officials.
The Roxbury Nightclub was just two weeks away from being closed for a year in the heart of Uptown's nightlife area.
"It's been a challenge," owner Judy Sullivan said.
When the doors opened on Saturday night at 7p.m., it was a moment full of relief and excitement.
"This is really big for us this weekend," Sullivan said.
There was a short line of patrons outside the nightclub before doors opened. They trickled in as the Roxbury opened back up for business.
"Every month we thought, it's just going to be the next month," Sullivan said.
Bartenders spent the afternoon prepping for the big night, cutting lemons and limes, preparing to serve cocktails and other beverages.
Sullivan spent the afternoon making sure safety measures were in place, at every turn.
"There's a set of stairs you can only go down. A set of stairs you can only come up," he said. "It makes the flow work for us," he said explaining how nobody will have to pass each other in a tight area.
Less than 200 people will be allowed inside, according to capacity constraints.
At the bar, there's a 'no mask, no service' rule with signs marking the message.
"We're going try to make it safe," Sullivan said. "Charlotte wants that."
He said they'll be strict about it, too.
"When you walk up, that mask has to be on," he insisted.
It has to stay on during the entire time your inside unless you're taking a drink of your beverage.
Spaced out seating, social distancing, capacity limits, and mask-wearing are the responsible actions health officials were hoping business owners would abide by.
"We must remain cautious," Governor Roy Cooper said earlier in the week when he announced the loosening of restrictions.
Sullivan agrees, and said being back in business is a step in the right direction but everyone has to do their part to keep opening things back up.
After losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, Sullivan says he's been fine-tuning his '80s and '90s playlist. But, he notes, it'll be different.
"The music is going to be fun, but it's not going to be a high energy dance party," he said as he doesn't want to encourage dancing. "That's not what we're going."
An Uptown staple throwing it back with the music while trying to move past the pandemic.