'We respect this decision,' Durham bar owner says of keeping NC bars closed longer
Sean Umstead, co-owner of Kingfisher Cocktail Bar in Durham, said he recognizes that bars have been linked to coronavirus outbreaks in other states, so he supports the decision to keep them closed in North Carolina for at least three more weeks.
SHARING HER THOUGHTS ON TODAY'S DECISION. THAT IS COMING UP AT 7:00. >>> THE NUMBERS TODAY SHOW THAT WE REMAIN UPSWING STATEWIDE WITH THREE RATHER TROUBLING. THERE ARE 1957 NEW CASES REPORTED IN THE LAST 24 HOURS. THAT BRINGS THE AVERAGE OF NEW CASES PER DAY UP AS WELL, HITTING A HIGH OF 1944. YOU CAN SEE THE CURVE CONTINUING TO RISE IN THE LAST WEEK FOLLOWING A BRIEF PAUSE. HOSPITALIZATIONS HIT ANOTHER RECORD HIGH AT 1109. 90% OF THE STATE HOSPITALS REPORTED THIS DATA. THIS PULLS THE SEVEN-DAY AVERAGE TO NEW HIGH AS WELL. IN THE LAST WEEK WE HAVE AN AVERAGE OF 1055 PEOPLE HOSPITALIZED ON ANY GIVEN DAY. WE WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE NUMBER OF DEATHS IN THE STATE. NOW AT 1586. WE DON'T LOOK AT THE NUMBER EVERY DAY BUT IT'S WORTH NOTING 36 DEATHS WERE REPORTED SO FAR TODAY >>> THOSE ARE THE NUMBER THAT THE GOVERNOR IS SIDING WHEN HE SAYS WE NEED TO KEEP THE STATE IN PHASE TWO BACK LONGER. THAT WILL KEEP A NUMBER OF BUSINESSES OPERATING AT REDUCED CAPACITY OR COMPLETELY CLOSED FOR THREE MORE WEEKS. WE ARE LIVE WITH THE CO-OWNER OF THE KINGFISHER COCKTAIL BAR AND DURHAM. YOU HAVE BEEN CLOSED SINCE MARCH AND NOW LOOKING AT AUGUST 7 AT THE EARLIEST THAT YOU CAN REOPEN AND HOW YOU PLAN TO CONTINUE TO PAY YOUR BILLS? >> WE ARE LOOKING AT EVERY POSSIBLE AVENUE. WE ARE WORKING WITH OUR LANDLORD. OUR EMPLOYEES AND OUR SUPPLIERS , AND WE ARE TRYING TO EFFECTIVELY GET THROUGH THIS PERIOD. WE RESPECT HIS DECISION AND WE FEEL LIKE CHOOSING THE HEALTH AND THE SYSTEM OF NORTH CAROLINA'S THE RIGHT ONE. >> I BEEN ON YOUR WEBSITE AND IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE TRYING TO BE GRADED ON HOW TO REACH OUT WITH THEIR CUSTOMERS TO KEEP YOUR EMPLOYEES PAID DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME. >> YES, WE HAVE BEEN VERY CRATED. WE HAVE DONE OUTREACH AND INSTAGRAM CLASSES. WE HAVE KITS TO MAKE THE KINGFISHER COCKTAIL AT HOME. WE HAVE NOT GOT THE POINT WHERE ANY OF THAT IS PARTICULARLY SUSTAINABLE. THAT IS MOSTLY BECAUSE THE MAIN PRODUCT WE SELL, COCKTAILS, NOT ALLOWED TO BE SOLD TO GO. >> HOW LONG DO YOU THINK YOUR ESTABLISHMENT CAN HOLD ON? >> WE ARE VERY LUCKY. WE HAVE A VERY SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY. WE HAVE A VERY SUPPORTIVE LANDLORD. I THINK WE WILL BE ABLE TO OPEN SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE. IF I AM BEING FRANK, BASED ON WHAT IS HAPPENING IN TEXAS, ARIZONA AND FLORIDA, BARS AS A WHOLE, THE SCIENCE APPEARS TO BE PRETTY CLEAR THAT IT'S A PLACE THAT WILL NOT GET US TO THE END GOAL OF FLATTEN THE CURVE TO GET US THROUGH THE PANDEMIC. WE ARE LOOKING AT ALL KINDS OF AVENUES. JUST AS THE GOVERNOR SAID, WITH SCHOOL REOPENING PLAN, HAVING MULTIPLE STYLES, I REALLY THINK WE HAVE TO CONSIDER MORE AVENUES FOR THE BARS. THREE WEEKS WILL COME QUICKLY. IN MY HEART OF HEARTS I DON'T EXPECT WE WILL REOPEN IN THREE WEEKS BUT MORE LIKE SIX MONTHS. ANYTHING THAT THE LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR CAN DO, ESPECIALLY FOR THAT TO GO COCKTAILS WOULD BE HUGE. >> IT IS A DIFFICULT TIME FOR