RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest has publicly criticized Governor Roy Cooper for issuing an executive order mandating restaurants and bars close in-restaurant seating. Gov. Cooper said he issued the order in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the state.
"His mandate will devastate our economy, shutter many small businesses, and leave many people unemployed, especially in the rural areas of our state where food supply is already critical,” Forest said in a release posted on his website.
Forest’s statement went on to say a majority of the Council of State voted not to concur with Gov. Cooper’s decision. According to Forest, the vote against concurrence means Gov. Cooper did not have the authority to issue that part of the order.
“While I understand that all actions in a time of crisis are very difficult decisions and have many consequences, some decisions are so serious they require, by law, discussion with, and approval of, other state leaders,” Forest’s statement went on to say.
A short time later Sadie Weiner, a spokesperson for Gov. Cooper, shared the following statement on Twitter:
"It's one thing to disagree, it's another to create a chaotic situation in the middle of a pandemic. The Governor is taking action to protect the health and safety of North Carolinians and does not need concurrence. The Governor and the Secretary of DHHS have the authority to do this under state public health and emergency powers law."
Forest won the republican gubernatiorial primary earlier this month, and will run against Gov. Cooper in the November General Election.