Senate to Vote on Updated Gym Bill to Provide Gov With Fail-Safe; Bars Back In

Changes address all complaints from Gov, Dems

Gov could re-close bars, gyms with concurrence from Council of State

Raleigh, N.C. — Tomorrow, the North Carolina Senate will vote on an updated bill to reopen gyms and to treat bars and restaurants equally.

The updated measure will provide Gov. Roy Cooper with flexibility to re-close those businesses, the absence of which Gov. Cooper and Democrats cited as their reason for opposing the original bill.

Every state that borders North Carolina has already reopened gyms, bars, and restaurants.

Over the last ten days, thousands of people gathered in the streets, many of them without wearing masks or following social distancing rules. They walked, ran, and shouted. Gov. Cooper supported them and even marched with them, so it’s clear that the “science” behind the lockdowns is not being applied consistently.

Sen. Gunn said, “The number of people filing for unemployment in North Carolina reached one million a few days ago. I think the Governor’s excuse for vetoing my bill to treat bars and restaurants equally was a cop-out, but I’m tired of wasting time while these businesses flounder. We’ll vote on an updated bill tomorrow to address the reasons for Democratic opposition. Let’s get these business open.”

On Friday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed House Bill 536, which would have treated restaurants and bars equally by allowing both to operate on their property outdoors. This step is supported by science, which shows the risk of viral transmission is greatly diminished outdoors, and has been embraced by dozens of other states.

Democrats and the Governor opposed the bill because they complained the Governor would not have the flexibility to close down bars in the event of a future COVID-19 spike.

For example, Sen. Natasha Marcus (D-Mecklenburg) voted against the bill because “we could include in this a safety switch for a second wave.”

Gov. Cooper explained his opposition by saying if there’s a surge in cases, “the authority of the executive branch is taken away to be able to close those again.”

Sen. Gunn’s changes to his bill address those concerns. The updated bill will make it explicit that the Governor may re-close businesses provided he obtains concurrence from the Council of State — a basic check that has existed in emergency authority statute for decades.

Unless the Democrats and the Governor come up with a new excuse, Sen. Gunn expects the bill to pass with broad bipartisan support and be signed by the Governor.

Science, Facts, and Data

In Tennessee, gyms, restaurants, and bars have been open for a month. Is the science and data different across that border?

In Virginia, bars, restaurants, and gyms are open. Is the science and data different across that border?

In South Carolina, gyms, bars, and restaurants are all open. Is the science and data different across that border?

In Georgia, gyms, bars, and restaurants are all open. Is the science and data different across that border?

The official Medium account for N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger’s press office.

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