As concerns for the spread of COVID-19 increase, further impacts may be felt from businesses to the Thanksgiving table.
Gov. Roy Cooper made an announcement Tuesday extending Phase 3 restrictions and reducing indoor gathering limits from 25 to 10.
“Just me and my siblings, that’s it, no extra. Usually, we have very big ordeal for thanksgiving,” Carol Whittemore said.
Thanksgiving goes on, but not as scheduled, for many families who different plans in place this year because of COVID-19.
“We are going to take our own food, we are going to start a fire and we are going to eat our own food and probably not even elbow bump,” Whittemore said.
And in a year with so many uncertainties, others are still in the planning phase to make sure it is safe as possible.
“Do we sit outside, or do we risk going inside to be unsafe?” Jocelyn Pritchard asked.
“Bottom line, we are on shaky ground as we head into thanksgiving,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
After an increase in cases, the state is urging extra caution going into Thanksgiving.
“We need to focus on bringing our numbers down,” Cooper said.
Health officials are encouraging people to limit travel, gather outside when possible and limit the number of people inside.
“The more people that gather, the easier this virus can spread. We saw increasing spread from social gatherings in October. This reduction in our indoor gathering limit is to slow the spread,” Cooper said.
For businesses, Phase 3 means some businesses will have to wait longer to open.
“We are still closed. We still have no guidelines and notification about when we will be allowed to open in any way, in any capacity,” said Jess Mills, co-owner of Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar.
It is one of the businesses that is forced to remain closed under Cooper's Phase 3 guidelines. Despite being closed, the expenses have not stopped.
“We pay around, I believe, $6,000-$8,000 per month between rent, utilities we still have to pay, the licenses we still have to pay, the fees we still have to pay,” Mills said.
With only limited funds from virtual shows, they have been forced to rely on credit with some help coming from state grants.
Despite Phase 3 extending the closure, Mills said there may be hope on the horizon.
“We really, really, really hope that the vaccine is the changer for us, and then we can hold on that long,” Mills said.
The reduced capacity guidelines do not apply for churches and other religious gatherings, though there have been outbreaks associated with those.
The current extension of Phase 3 guidelines will be in place until at least Dec. 4