North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s plans to slowly reopen the state during the COVID-19 crisis have resulted in protestors on the streets of Raleigh, charges of unconstitutionality from Republican state senators and now, even closer to home, a letter from the majority of the Council of State asking for answers.
The Council of State is made up of the 10 statewide elected officials in state government including the governor. This letter is signed by Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler, Commissioner of Insurance Mike Causey, Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry, Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson and Treasurer Dale Folwell.
The letter begins, “We are writing today to request that you convene the Council of State as soon as possible to discuss plans for reopening North Carolina’s economy, with the understanding that we will be dealing with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future.”
It states, “Many of our offices are being flooded with phone calls from businesses that thought they’d be allowed to open after May 1. You are now telling them they have to wait at least another two weeks, with minimal guidance from you.”
It continues, “We also need the ability to provide clarity to businesses across our state that are dangerously close to permanently closing. And we need clarity as to why you aren’t allowing specific industries to open as our neighboring states have done.”
The letter notes that the White House guidance is “just that – guidance for the entire country, not a law or a mandate, and it allows maximum flexibility down to the county level. The fact that North Carolina is faring better in cases and deaths on a per-capita level than the rest of the nation and that the majority of deaths are from government-regulated congregate living centers, proves that our citizens can properly social distance and abide by COVID-19 business regulations.”
If Cooper agrees and calls a Council of State meeting, it certainly appears it will be interesting.