Gov. Cooper vetoes bill that would have reopened gyms and allowed outdoor seating at bars

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A bill that would have reopened gyms and allowed outdoor seating at bars was vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday.

The House voted 69-50 in favor while the Senate voted 36-13 in favor of the House Bill 594 on Tuesday. 

Cooper has kept gyms and bars closed during phase two of reopening.

Cooper and state health officials said they did not include gyms in phase two because they view that as a “high-risk activity” with people breathing hard and potentially spreading the virus.

Gym owners across the state have said they want to find a way to reopen while being mindful of social distancing.

Some gym owners have defied the governor’s executive order and opened anyway. Others have been working to try to find a way to convince the governor they can open while adhering to social distancing and being mindful of the impacts of COVID-19.

House Bill 594 would also allow certain existing establishments to offer and operate outdoor dining and beverage service options at 50 percent of the current indoor seating capacity of the establishment, or 100 customers, whichever is less.

Cooper shared this statement on HB 594:

“Tying the hands of public health officials in times of pandemic is dangerous, especially when case counts and hospitalizations are rising. State and local officials must be able to take swift action during the COVID-19 emergency to prevent a surge of patients from overwhelming hospitals and endangering the lives of North Carolinians. The bill could restrict leaders who need to respond quickly to outbreaks and protect public health and safety.”

The governor signed 11 other bills on Friday.

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