The desperate plea of small business owners in North Carolina continues to go unheard by Gov. Roy Cooper, who on June 24, doubled down on prohibiting private bar owners from operating their businesses. Zack Medford of the N.C. Bar and Tavern Association reacted:
The worst fears of many small-business owners were realized today as Gov. Roy Cooper again refused to extend to N.C. bars and taverns the same chance to survive as he has afforded wineries, breweries and hotel bars, which reopened two months ago in the coronavirus pandemic.
“The governor’s decision is effectively signing a death warrant for 1,063 bars across North Carolina while offering zero relief to the small-business owners or their employees,” said Zack Medford, president of the N.C. Bar and Tavern Association. “Asking private bar owners to lose everything they’ve worked for while their competitors can thrive is unconscionable. Enough is enough. This is an issue of fairness. It is time for the courts to decide.”
NCBATA bar owners are committed to keeping their customers and employees safe, and applaud the governor’s new mandate that masks be worn in public. But private bars can enforce that mandate — and social distancing — just as well as other businesses serving alcohol can.
As Gov. Cooper doubled down, N.C. House Republican lawmakers who believe in a person’s right to earn a living and who understand the unfairness of Cooper’s decision, tried their best to convince Democrats to join them in overriding Gov. Cooper’s veto of a bill that would allow bars and gyms to open. Carolina Journal reported:
Businesses can’t wait any longer to reopen, said Republican lawmakers.
“I am not up here to give my opinion,” Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, said during a House debate Wednesday. “Way, way too often our decisions are not based on what is best for the people of North Carolina. It’s about what’s best for our caucus or our party. I’m asking everyone here to stop and remember that you are representing the interests of [many] people.”
“There are people who are out of jobs. There are people literally losing their minds.”
Gyms and bars are no different than any other business, Speciale said.
“Everybody in this room needs to press the yes button and let them go back to work,” Speciale said.
Sadly, the override vote failed. Only one Democrat heard the pleas of business owners and voted with Republicans.
One Democrat, Rep. Michael Wray of Northampton County, joined with all Republicans in the failed override.
The result? Heartbreak and economic devastation in North Carolina.
So what do we do now? We don’t give up. We forge ahead with sound ideas to revive North Carolina’s economy so that every single person has opportunity. We can do it with the right ideas. We can ensure a Carolina Rebound. The John Locke Foundation is committed to it. We ask you to join us.