Dozens Of Bars Across North Carolina Are Part Of A Lawsuit Against Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order Keeping Them Closed

CHARLOTTE NC. — Dozens of bars across North Carolina are part of a lawsuit against Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order keeping them closed. Now, state lawmakers are pushing back against the order.

“On a day where we are seeing some of our highest numbers of hospitalizations and death, the Senate wants to open bars,” says Governor Cooper.

A frustrated Governor Cooper responding after the state senate overwhelmingly passed legislation Thursday. It would allow restaurants and bars to expand outdoor seating equal to 50% of total occupancy.

“I know that it is a tough time for business, and I believe that there will be a time when we can open bars. But that time is not now.”

Zack Medford is the president of the North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association and a bar owner himself. He says 80 bars are part of the lawsuit and the list is growing.

“Tomorrow, we will be filing a lawsuit against Executive Order 141. We are going to ask the judge for a temporary restraining order to allow bars to open, to allow them to do it safely and be treated just like restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries,” Medford says.

Medford’s tavern has been closed for about 10 weeks.

“That means I’ve laid off over 80 employees. These guys are dying to get back to work. We want to get back to work, we want to do it safely but right now we still can’t.”

Medford and other bar owners say they should be able to operate under the same guidelines as breweries and restaurants.

“There’s nothing inherently unsafe about bars. We follow the same guidelines that restaurants and breweries are being held to.”

Jackie DeLoach owns Hattie’s Tap and Tavern in NoDa. She’s confident she’d be able to open just as safely.

“I just feel like we are left in the dust and that’s a little hurtful,” says DeLoach.