Lawsuit details why NC is keeping bars closed

RALEIGH, N.C. — The state is crafting its case to defend Gov. Roy Cooper’s COVID-19 restrictions against a lawsuit that could have broad reaching implications for bar owners across North Carolina.

Legal documents relating to a lawsuit brought against Cooper by the owners of an establishment in Greenville, North Carolina, detail the state’s reasons for why indoor bars remain closed while breweries and restaurants continue to serve patrons in the state.

Club 519 and its owners, Rob and Crystal Waldron, filed suit against Cooper last year, claiming that for every month the venue remains closed it’s losing tens of thousands of dollars. They’ve said they aren’t asking for special treatment – they just want to be open under the same parameters as restaurants, breweries and wineries.

In an affidavit filed in connection with the lawsuit, Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, chief medical officer for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, pointed to reports showing a link between foot traffic in bars and an increase in Covid cases.

“Additionally the very nature of alcohol is to act as a ‘disinhibitor,’ which may cause people to forget or fail to follow preventative measures or to engage in riskier behavior, such as extended interactions with non-household members, speaking more loudly or singing, and failing to abide by social distancing or face covering rules,” it states.

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