As Bar Owners Protest Outside Governor’s Mansion, NC House Leader Calls on Governor to Let Them Reopen Safely

RALEIGH – On Thursday afternoon, and into the evening, small-business owners p0lan to protest outside the governor’s mansion, calling on Governor Roy Cooper to ‘Save Our Bars.’

Bars, taverns, and night clubs are some of the few remaining businesses that remain under arbitrary closure under Cooper’s unilateral Pandemic Panic executive orders. Even while breweries, restaurant bars, and wineries are free to serve beer to customers, over a thousand private bars across the state are shuttered, and for good if they order is not lifted soon.

Joining them in their call to allow bars to reopen under some common sense conditions is N.C. House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne). Bell sent a letter to Governor Cooper urging him to do just that, and we share it below:

Dear Governor Cooper,
Much like the rest of the country, North Carolinians are struggling during these unprecedented times. We have seen businesses that were once staples in our communities forced to close down. We’ve seen thousands of hardworking North Carolinians lose their jobs. This economic shutdown has impacted us all, but today I am contacting you regarding the disproportionate and unfair treatment that many bar owners have faced.
North Carolina has thousands of private bars, most of which have been forced by your Executive Order to shut down for the majority of this year. These business owners and employees are still paying rent, still taking care of their families, and simply want to be given the green light to safely reopen. Yet, you vetoed numerous bipartisan bills passed by the General Assembly that would have allowed these businesses, including bars, to reopen under strict guidelines and limited capacity.
You have recently allowed gyms and bowling alleys to operate at very limited capacity, but seem to willfully ignore the pleas of bar owners and patrons across the State. You have repeatedly said that “science and data” are the driving force behind keeping bars closed, but in the same breath you say that bars are remaining closed due to the hypothetical “party atmospheres” that you say would be created, even as you have restricted alcohol sales past 11:00 pm.
These small business owners simply want to be allowed to operate under the same rules as restaurants, breweries, and wineries. What is the difference between going to a restaurant for a drink and going to a bar for a drink? You aren’t required to eat at either establishment, yet your Executive Order and “Phases” imply that it is safer to consume an alcoholic beverage in a restaurant.
I join thousands of bar owners and employees who are pleading with you to let them get back to work. You are preventing hard working North Carolinians from earning a living. I urge you to listen to the concerns of bar owners, allow these businesses to safely reopen, and let North Carolina get back to work!
John R. Bell, IV
House Majority Leader

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