Bar owners association to meet with Gov. Cooper’s office ahead of planned lawsuit

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – An association representing bar owners across the state will meet with Gov. Roy Cooper’s office to discuss equal treatment for their businesses during Phase Two of North Carolina’s reopening.

The North Carolina Bar and Tavern Association said it had planned to file a lawsuit Friday asking that bars should have the same treatment as restaurants, breweries, wineries, and distilleries – which are allowed open in Phase Two.

NCBATA said Cooper’s office and the Attorney General’s Office approached the group Thursday about meeting to discuss the situation.

“The Governor mentioned during his press conference on Thursday that his decision to keep bars closed was based on data, science and daily briefings from doctors and healthcare experts. We have asked to see the information he relied on to inform us as we proceed,” NCBATA said in a release.

Zack Medford is president of NCBATA but also owns Isaac Hunter’s Tavern in downtown Raleigh. They haven’t been able to serve customers since March 17.

“We’re not asking for any special treatment. We’re asking for equal treatment,” he said.

Medford said he was stunned and disappointed when Cooper removed bars that do not generate at least 30 percent of revenues from food sales from Phase Two.

“We don’t have any money coming in. Bars aren’t allowed to do take out,” Medford said.  “We’ve just been hanging on, working on finding ways to pay our rent.”

He said he was further disappointed when breweries were allowed to reopen in Phase Two.

“At this point, bars are the only ones left out in the dark,” he said.

This story will be updated.

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