‘BAR LIVES MATTER’: (Actually) Peaceful Protesters at Governor’s Mansion, NCGA Call to Reopen Bars

RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper couldn’t really answer the question when he was asked why there is a difference in brewery’s selling beer at an onsite bar, and bar’s selling beer at an onsite bar. That’s because there is no legitimate reason; it’s completely arbitrary.

And it’s ruining the livelihoods of a lot of small-business owner across the state. A group calling on the governor to open the bars held a protest on Thursday, marching to the governor’s mansion and the state legislature to draw attention to the plight of bar owners and call for their reopening.

Cooper announced this week that bars (along with movie theaters and other event venues) would remain under forced closure until at least October 2. Plenty of bar owners have already closed for good, unable to hang on, but the extension is likely a death knell for ever more business owners.

Having been prohibited from opening their doors for more than 5 months, and now faced with another four weeks at least, many owners are out of money and behind on basic bills like rent and utilities. All because Cooper and Pandemic Panic Czar Mandy Cohen decided a bar was a ‘viral breeding ground,’ but brewery bars, and restaurant bars, were allowed to open.

From CBS17:

“[…] “The bottom line is, it doesn’t make sense that a restaurant bar can be open, but a bar can’t. It doesn’t really make any sense,” said Joseph Dewberry, who owns a bar in Fayetteville.

Ben Reese is part of the group that protested outside the Executive Mansion. He tells CBS 17 he poured his dreams and deployment savings into opening the Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar in Asheville more than seven years ago.

All the money I saved up fighting for America went into that,” Reese said of the money he put into opening the bar. “My house is also up for collateral because banks don’t give money to bars.”

With his bar still closed under the governor’s orders, his dreams and finances have dried up.

If this business fails, I’m homeless,” he said of how dire the situation is. “So if that’s the ‘people’s house,’ maybe I can move in, maybe Governor Cooper will let me come in.”

People at the protest say they want a fair chance to survive the pandemic, and that they are capable of following the same safety standards as restaurants, breweries, and wineries. […]”

These aren’t hard times due to a slow economy, or bad business practices, or personal missteps; this is quite literally an economic despair assigned to bar owners by the governor while the stated justification for that harsh, undeserved sentence is contradicted left asnd right.

Some bar owners have opened up in defiance of the orders, only to be shut down by police enforcing the governor’s unilateral edicts. The Big Government ABC Commission and local ABC Boards are threatening those that open with nullifying their licenses to sell alcohol.

It’s authoritarianism run amok, and the collateral damage is counted in ruined dreams, empty bank accounts, and forced destitution.

But, hey, this is about saving lives, right?

Meanwhile, cases and hospitalizations due to the virus continue to sink. Not a single hospital in the state was ever at risk of being overrun by COVID patients. Survival rates are remarkably high in person without underlying conditions, and common, established drugs are now found to be useful in fighting even severe symptoms of the disease.

Gym owners joined together and decided to move ahead with opening despite the shutdown orders; is it time for bar owners to do the same and risk the wrath from the ABC Commission?

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