Bowling alleys in the state of North Carolina were given the right to open immediately by a court ruling on Tuesday, July 7.
Wake County Superior Court Judge James Gale granted a preliminary injunction against the Phase 2 executive order issued by Gov. Roy Cooper that mandated that bowling alleys remain closed while allowing many similar businesses to open under restrictions set by the order.
Gale in his ruling did not appear to be impressed with Cooper’s response to the lawsuit and several times in his opinion stated that if the defendant (Cooper) had responded with information, he would have been able to consider it.
What Gale said in many words and long legal phrases could be boiled down in laymen’s terms to say: Just because you say so isn’t a good enough reason to take away people’s livelihoods.
The portions of the lawsuit brought by the North Carolina Bowling Proprietors Association Inc. that Gale stated were most relevant were that the executive order violated the rights guaranteed in the North Carolina Constitution that people have a right to benefit from the fruits of their own labor and are guaranteed equal protection under the law.
Gale in his opinion also expressed concern that Director of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen did not specifically address the particular issues that necessitated closing bowling alleys when businesses where there would appear to be more contact between people such as hair salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors were allowed to open.
Gale also noted that Cooper didn’t respond to the additional restrictions specific to bowling alleys, such as sanitizing shoes and bowling balls that the bowling association had proposed.
This is the second time that Cooper has lost a court battle over his executive orders. The first had to do with houses of worship, which was brought in federal court and where the judge made similar although more scathing remarks about Cooper’s lack of legal defense for his actions and ruled that the executive order restricting the number of people who could attend churches and houses of worship was unconstitutional.
The decision by Judge Gale only applies to bowling alleys that are members of the North Carolina Bowling Proprietors Association and not all bowling alleys.
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) in a press release said, “The Governor’s inconsistent approach to closing businesses has been unfair, inequitable, and thus illegal from the start. I continue to urge the Governor to produce a plan for all North Carolina companies, to communicate that plan, and to help businesses comply with consistent protocols so they may safely operate.”