NC bar, tavern owners form advocacy group after being left out of Phase 2

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Bar owners in North Carolina have banded together to create an advocacy group after the state’s decision not to include the establishments in Phase Two of reopening the economy.

A press release Friday said the North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association was created with the purpose of advocating for issues specific to bars and taverns. Owners are asking for Gov. Roy Cooper to treat them as equals to their restaurant counterparts.

Restaurants that generate at least 30 percent of their sales from food and non-alcoholic beverages were allowed to reopen Friday at 5 p.m.

“Bar and tavern owners across North Carolina were dismayed to learn at the eleventh hour that their small businesses must remain shut,” the release said, referring to modifications made to Phase Two on Wednesday.

The association hired Raleigh lawyer Jack Cozort to serve as its government relations consultant. He will work with Cooper’s office, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and the North Carolina Legislature to lobby on behalf of bar owners in the state, the release said.

“The governor’s executive order leaves out thousands of small business owners across North Carolina while enabling national restaurant chains to continue to operate,” explained NCBATA founder Zack Medford. “Virtually all stand-alone bars in North Carolina are independently owned and operated.

“The safety of our guests and our employees is our No. 1 priority, and we have the most to lose from increased cases in our community. We take this virus very seriously, but we also know that if there is a safe way to open restaurants with bars, then there is a safe way to open stand-alone bars and taverns as well.”

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