A crowd gathers for football night at Barefoot Bernies in Kitty Hawk. Phase 3 Guidelines allow for very limited reopening of bars.

A crowd gathers for football night at Barefoot Bernies in Kitty Hawk. Phase 3 Guidelines allow for very limited reopening of bars.

Things seem to be slowly reopening. Yesterday, September 30 North Carolin Governor Cooper announced the state is moving in Phase 3 of its reopening plan.

The state is doing so very cautiously, though.

Probably the one piece of the relaxing of restrictions that most visitors to the Outer Banks will notice is that bars are will be allowed to reopen as of Friday, October 2.

There are, however still restrictions in place.

Even though they will be allowed to reopen, bars with outdoor seating are only permitted to operate at 30% of capacity. Bars with indoor seating may only seat seven people per 1000 square feet. Since most indoor bars on the Outer Banks are not quite 1000 square feet, that is not a lot of indoor seating.

There continues to be an 11:00p.m. curfew on serving alcohol in restaurants and bars.

It is unclear what the effect will be. For a restaurant like Ocean Boulevard in Kitty Hawk, the effect will probably be minimal. Owner Donny King partitioned his bar to increase food sales at the beginning of the COVID-19 restrictions, and it is doubtful that he’ll remove the partitions at his bar.

On the other hand, for a place like the Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills, with a large outdoor seating area, there may be an impact.

We’ll have to wait and see.

The 30% capacity limit also applies to movie theaters, so Outer Banks movie theaters may be reopening soon.

What Are Phase 3 Time Limits

It is important to note, however, that Governor Cooper put a very short time on the Phase 3 executive order. It will expire on October 23. If no action is taken beyond the expiration, restrictions will revert to the Phase 2.5 that we are currently experiencing.

A cautionary note needs to be added here—the North Carolina daily count of COVID-19 soared to the highest level since July of this year.

Please, wear those masks, wash your hands and maintain that social distance. It would be great to get things completely reopened safely.

So much to do on the Outer Banks at this time of the year. The weather is beautiful, perfect for a long walk on the beach. Plan your getaway with Brindley Beach Vacations.