Cooper vetoes bar reopening bill

Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 4:36 PM EDT
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Gov. Roy Cooper this afternoon vetoed a bill that would allow bars to reopen in outdoor areas.

State lawmakers approved the legislation last week in an attempt to override Cooper's executive order that closed bars in March.

"State and local government leaders must be able to act quickly during the COVID-19 emergency to prevent a surge in cases that could overwhelm hospitals and harm the public, the governor said. "House Bill 536 would limit the ability of leaders to respond quickly to COVID-19 and hamper the health and safety of every North Carolinian."

It is expected that the General Assembly will try to override the governor's veto.

"The governor's veto of a commonsense and safe outdoor seating policy shows his unwillingness to respond to cries for help by family-owned businesses across North Carolina," said House Speaker Tim Moore.

A similar bill is moving through the legislature that would allow gyms to reopen. Cooper said Thursday that he is considering easing some restrictions for those businesses, as early as next week.

Under the governor's phased reopening plan, bars and gyms would not be allowed to reopen until phase 3.