Friday, June 5, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill that would have allowed bars in North Carolina to open and restaurants to increase their capacity.
Thursday, June 4, the North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association filed a lawsuit against Cooper for not allowing bars and taverns to open when restaurants, breweries, distilleries and wineries were all allowed to open, which now seems prescient.
The bill passed the legislature by a vote of 65-53 in the House and 42-5 in the Senate. If the vote holds, the Senate easily has enough votes to override Cooper’s veto, but the bill’s backers would need to pick up votes in the House to reach the 60 percent threshold needed to override a veto.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who is the Republican candidate for governor, in a press release said, “Gov. Cooper needs to stop saying he’s basing all his decisions for keeping our economy shut down on ‘science and data.’ By vetoing the ‘Bar Bill,’ he is claiming that ‘science’ says it is safe for a brewery to be open but not a bar. Gov. Cooper continues to drag his heels on reopening our economy, for no discernible reason. Other states opened bars, gyms and other businesses weeks ago with no negative impact on public health. It’s long past time for North Carolina to do the same. We can protect lives and livelihoods at the same time.”
Sen. Rick Gunn (R-Alamance), the bill’s sponsor, in a press release said, “This bill was intended to be a safe, economic lifeline for the hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians that lost their job and are still waiting for relief from Gov. Cooper. At a time when the state is facing one of its worst economic crises, Gov. Cooper should be looking for ways to get our citizens back to work. Now citizens that were counting on coming back to work will have to get back on the phone and hope his administration finally pays their claims.”
Gunn added, “Just a few days ago Gov. Cooper took a stroll without a mask on and in close proximity to dozens of protestors. Yet he determines that visiting a bar with strict safety precautions is a bigger public health risk. His hypocrisy knows no bounds.”