Recently when scrolling through Instagram, I have been seeing multiple posts of people drinking and enjoying their nights with friends. Governor Cooper announced an increase in capacity for indoor dining on March 24 through an executive order which included bars and restaurants. The order, titled Executive Order No. 204, has also eliminated the curfew for alcohol sales according to ABC 11. This allows restaurants and bars to essentially return to normal with COVID-19 protocols still in place as before. As vaccines are being distributed, I have noticed an increase in the number of people ready to get back to normal. People are beginning to go out in groups more and are willing to sit at a bar to have a drink.
Because I work in a restaurant, I wanted to see if bars were following CDC guidelines or if the opening meant more people were going to ignore them. Since I don’t know any local bars, I decided to go to different restaurants that have bars within them. These places, the ones that I used to go to pre-COVID, had been empty once but were now looking as if the shutdown never occurred. Although many of the signs indicated that people should socially distance and keep their masks on, the rules were being violated in some places. My number one concern turned out to be the reality while I continued to witness people worry less about their distance and more about spending time with their friends.
With more and more people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, there is a lack of emphasis being placed on wearing a mask and social distancing. Although the world is rapidly going back to normal, I still think we should take all the precautions as seriously as we did from the beginning. Just because bars are opening up and we want to be with friends doesn’t mean we can forget about the hundreds of thousands of people who died during the pandemic. Bars and restaurants that are frequently visited by people every day should enforce their guidelines even more or the same as they did when COVID-19 first started. The vaccines are now available for everyone above the age of 16, but that doesn’t mean everyone will choose to get them. By enforcing social distancing and remembering the 3W’s, we could see a decrease in cases. Going out with friends for a couple of drinks is not the issue; however, we need to do it in a way that will allow us to protect ourselves and each other, especially since COVID-19 is still spreading fast in the state of North Carolina.
By Jessica Dedho-Doradea, Contributing Writer