Bar owners rally in Raleigh to be allowed to reopen
RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - Bar owners across the state say they are struggling financially since being ordered to shut down in mid-March due to COVID-19 and took those concerns to Raleigh Thursday.
For the second time in weeks, they rallied and protested outside the governor’s mansion demanding they be allowed to reopen.
Rob Waldron, the owner of 519 in Greenville, was among the bar owners in attendance. He says, “I’m just a guy with a wife and two kids and no way to pay the bills.”
Drew Wofford, one of the organizers of the protest and owner of Chemistry Night Club says, “You can go to a winery, you can go to a brewery, you can go into a bar inside of a restaurant, you can go to a bar in a hotel but you can’t go to a private bar. I think we’ve been forgotten about almost. Six months closed, I don’t see how they expect a small business owner to be able to pay their bills”
Zack Medford, organizer and President of NC Bar and Tap Association says 1,063 private bars in the state are still closed. He said they don’t want special treatment, they want equal treatment. “Private bars have been shut down since March 17th while the rest of the entire alcohol industry in North Carolina has been operating since May.”
Speakers said they are willing to do anything to reopen, even selling food and stopping the sale of alcohol after 11:00 pm.
Bar owners said they hope the protest will urge Governor Cooper to reopen bars. Organizers say they have reached out to the governor and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services but haven’t received a response.
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