RALEIGH — On Feb. 25, Gov. Roy Cooper signed the bill that will retroactively defer ABC permit fees for bars kept closed by his pandemic orders.
“The pandemic has hit bar owners hard, and this bill offers needed relief from the burden of fees as they work to keep their businesses afloat and create more jobs,” said Cooper in a statement.
The bill extends deferral of ABC permit fees until 90 days after all executive orders limiting the operation of bars and clubs either expire or the orders are rescinded.
On Feb. 17, House Bill 4 passed unanimously through both chambers, the House voted 118-0 and Senate 47-0. The bill was then sent to Cooper on the same day.
“While we are grateful for the Governor finally allowing bars to open at 30% in North Carolina, it is a far cry from what we need which is to be treated as equals to restaurants, distilleries, breweries, etc that have been open indoors at 50% since May,” wrote the N.C. Bar Owners Association (NCBOA) in a Facebook post.
NCBOA has a lawsuit still pending which cites the governor’s orders regarding bars are a violation of the constitutional right for a person to work and earn a living. The suit highlights the governor’s differential treatment of bars in comparison with other industries.