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NC Bar and Tavern Association files for temporary restraining order against governor's office

(NBC15)
Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 2:45 PM EDT
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The North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association Thursday filed a lawsuit on behalf of 185 businesses to have private bars included under the same reopening safety rules as restaurants, eating establishments, wineries, distilleries, breweries, and private clubs.

"Despite our numerous requests, the governor's office has offered no science or data showing that having a drink in a private bar is more dangerous than having a drink in a brewery bar, distillery bar, or even a restaurant bar," said association President Zack Medford.

NCBATA spoke with the governor's office on June 3 to request a reopening date for private bars. "While there was an encouraging exchange of facts and ideas, we do not believe the governor is willing to consent to our request to reopen by June 12," said the association's government relations consultant, Jack Cozort. "We have agreed to keep the lines of communication open."

NCBATA decided to file a lawsuit after that conversation proved friendly but unproductive. The North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association seeks a temporary restraining order against Gov. Roy Cooper's executive order 141, in addition to a preliminary and permanent injunction. Under the order, all types of ABC Mixed Beverage permit holders are allowed to operate--with the exception of private bars. These small businesses have been closed for 78 consecutive days and have suffered severe losses while competitors have been open since May 22. Without immediate relief, these losses will only increase exponentially.

In addition to the suit, NCBATA is asking for donations to its legal fund. "We hope all bar owners across the state will pledge what they can to help us get their doors back open," said Medford. "If we don't find relief swiftly, some of us never will reopen at all."

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