RALEIGH — The group supporting bars and taverns in the state slammed Gov. Roy Cooper over his “Phase 2.5” rollout, which left the industry shuttered.
Cooper sent a clear message to North Carolina bar owners and their families this week: “You don’t matter,” reads the blistering message on the N.C. Bars and Taverns Association (NCBATA) Facebook page. “On Tuesday, he announced that almost all businesses in North Carolina may reopen except bars. He made it clear that for the shuttered bars, no help is coming.”
The post went on listing business after business that was allowed to open, hitting Cooper and N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen for refusing to “throw us a lifeline.”
“They could offer bars the ability to open at 30% capacity — like gyms. They could allow us to observe the 11 p.m. alcohol curfew, social distancing and occupancy restrictions — like breweries and restaurants. Cooper could have at least offered us relief grants to give us a fighting chance to stay barely afloat,” the post reads.
In an IndyWeek op-ed prior to the “Phase 2.5” announcement, NCBATA President Zack Medford pleaded with the governor to open private bars and taverns.
“I’m begging you: We are out of money. We can’t pay rent anymore. Most of us are living off credit cards at this point. We are at the end of our ropes,” wrote Medford.
According to the NCBATA, 85% of establishments in North Carolina with bars in them, like breweries and restaurants, have been allowed to reopen. But 1,063 private bars have been kept closed under Cooper’s orders.