Governor Cooper vetoes bills addressing the reopening of leisure facilities and entertainment venues

Governor Cooper vetoes bills addressing the reopening of leisure facilities and entertainment venues
Governor Roy Cooper signs five bills into law, vetoes eight. (Source: WBTV)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - Governor Cooper vetoed bills on Thursday that would have allowed skating rinks, bowling alleys, gyms, amusement parks and arcades to open and would have modified the capacity of temporary outdoor seating for food and drink establishments.

“...At this critical time, opening bowling alleys, skating rinks, and other indoor entertainment facilities runs contrary to both the troubling trends regarding COVID-19 deaths in North Carolina as well as scientific and medical data, which establishes that COVID-19 is significantly more likely to be transmitted in these settings...” said Governor Cooper in a statement about Senate Bill 259.

Cooper expressed concern about people gathering indoors close to others to engage in physical exertion over an extended period. He added, “Opening these higher-risk facilities would spread COVID-19 and endanger the State’s flexibility to open the public schools.”

House Bill 806 would have authorized exercise and fitness facilities, gyms and health clubs to resume operations with implementation of strict guidelines; however, Cooper maintained that opening these facilities would not be advisable while case counts and hospitalizations are rising.

“Tying the hands of public health officials in times of pandemic is dangerous, especially when case counts and hospitalizations are rising. State and local officials must be able to take swift action during the COVID-19 emergency to prevent a surge of patients from overwhelming hospitals and endangering the lives of North Carolinians. The bill could restrict leaders who need to respond quickly to outbreaks and protect public health and safety,” said Cooper in a statement about HB 806, HB 258, which addressed the opening of amusement parks and arcades, and HB 686, an act to protect the right to celebrate the Fourth of July.

While Cooper vetoed eight bills, he signed five other bills into law.

Senate Bill 808 contains additional funding for COVID-19 testing and tracing

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