NC Bar/Tavern Owners to Hold Protest at Governor’s Mansion Thursday, Many to Reopen Friday in Defiance of Cooper

RALEIGH – They don’t want to seem like free men and women; the owners of private bars and taverns in North Carolina want to BE free men and women. That means that many of them plan to open their doors in defiance of Governor Roy Cooper’s arbitrary stranglehold on Friday, but before they let him hear it on Thursday.

Esse Quam Videri

On September 10, the Save Our Bars rally will be held in downtown Raleigh, right in front of the governor’s mansion, to again make their voices heard regarding Roy Cooper’s unilateral edict that has kept bars closed for 6 months, putting a good many out of business, and ruining livelihoods along the way. All while nearly identical businesses, albeit under different bureaucratic categories, let the alcohol sales and consumption flow.

Zack Medford, a bar owner and founder of the N.C. Bar & Tavern Association, described the event on the NCBATA Facebook page as non-partisan, encouraging attendees to wear masks and bring signs that merely point out the hypocrisy and unfairness of Cooper’s decrees:

“The North Carolina Bar and Tavern will join the organizers of the Save Our Bars Rally planned for Thursday, Sept. 10, outside the North Carolina Governor’s Mansion from 4:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.

The rally will urge Gov. Roy Cooper to allow the state’s 1,063 private bars to reopen under pandemic health guidelines—just like 6,000 other bars, wineries and breweries have been allowed to be open since May.

Private bar owners have waited in vain for the governor to explain why he authorized our competitors to sell beer, wine and liquor while forcing us to stay closed. Month after month has gone by without any change to this unfair policy. Bar owners have nothing left to lose: Cooper must immediately find a way for these bars to safely reopen or offer them immediate targeted relief.

The nonpartisan rally is open to the public. Bar owners, staff, musicians, entertainers, vendors, and small-business supporters are invited to join the event and show their support by wearing a mask and apparel from their favorite bar.

The North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association encourages attendees to bring visual reminders of the alcoholic drinks available for purchase from all various businesses except private bars. For example, some attendees will bring drink receipts, novelty glassware, and beverage napkins from the 85 percent of the state’s bars that are allowed to operate while we remain shuttered.

Attendees will bring signs to express their feelings about bars being closed for over six months with no end in sight. They are asked to refrain from bringing political campaign signs that distract from the protest’s nonpartisan message.

The rally will feature speakers from across the bar industry beginning at 5 p.m. At 6 p.m. the group will march to the Legislature to signal the need for all of North Carolina’s leaders to stand up for the 1,063 private bars being forced out of existence by a discriminatory policy supposedly based on “science and data” that has never been made public. […]

Cooper’s unfair reopening strategy has forced private bar owners to bear the entire weight of the pandemic while turning a blind eye to the fact that alcohol sales have never been better for state-run ABC stores, or that the bars inside restaurants, hotels, breweries and the rest of North Carolina’s hospitality industry have been operating since May.

Private bar owners are ready and willing to open under the same NCDHHS health recommendations, including social distancing, mask mandates, alcohol curfews and capacity restrictions. On Thursday, NCBATA will release their health guidelines to allow bars to reopen safely. Bars aren’t asking for special treatment— they are asking for equal treatment.”

More than a symbolic protest, though, for many bar owners the event will serve as fair warning to Governor Cooper that they plan to open their doors, whether he lifts the order or not, on Friday September 11.

While not explicitly endorsing that action, NCBATA nonetheless sympathizes with those that choose to be free, rather than to merely seem like it, even as the organization officially encourages them to follow the letter of the law:

“The North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association has learned that many private bars across the state intend to open on Sept. 11 to protest the unfair executive order that has reopened much of the bar industry except for them. Many of these bar owners have been forced to burn through personal savings and go deep into debt. With their backs against the wall, it comes as no surprise that these small business owners have no choice left.

NCBATA sympathizes with these bar owners who have nothing left to lose after being shut down for half a year while their competitors are making money and given a chance to survive in the pandemic.

Still, NCBATA encourages its membership to do their best to follow the letter of the law and be conscious of the risk to their ABC licenses and the potential for fines and misdemeanor charges.

Whenever they open, the association urges all bar and tavern owners to follow NCBATA health and safety guidelines to the strictest standards by enforcing social distancing, requiring customers to wear masks when not eating or drinking, and following all capacity and hours restrictions. […]”

The arbitrary, inconsistent, and, in many cases, nonsensical executive orders from Governor Roy Cooper have led to more than a million North Carolinians filing for unemployment. The governor’s overreaching actions have ruined family businesses, destroyed livelihoods, and violated the core individual rights of each and every North Carolinian. Many of those unilateral decrees have been relaxed or lifted, but many remain, and the bars are a prime example.

If you’re in the area, and want to show Roy Cooper what a peaceful protest ACTUALLY looks like; head to the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday, September 10 at 4:30 PM.

Then, on Friday, after remembering and honoring our heroes and first responders from the 9/11 attacks, celebrate the American spirit by going to your local bar and getting a drink.

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