Guy Running Against Cooper Says Closing Restaurants in a Pandemic Was A Bad Call

By Kimberly Lawson

March 18, 2020

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest later said his criticism was about “the rule of law.”

Less than an hour before Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s ban on dine-in service at restaurants went into effect on Tuesday, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest released a sharply critical statement of the action, saying the decision was bad and the governor lacked the authority to issue it.

In the statement Forest, who is running against Cooper in November for the governorship, said the move 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 also said Cooper never got support from the Council of State, elected officials who lead the state’s executive branch. When asked by the media, all six Republican members of the council said they disagreed with the executive order, though it references several sections that the Cooper administration said don’t require Council of State sign-off.

Cooper’s camp snapped back immediately, with Liz Doherty tweeting that Forest’s statement is “disappointing and it is dangerous. This is a public health crisis. It is above politics.”

Sadie Weiner, a Cooper spokesperson, also said “It’s one thing to disagree, it’s another to create a chaotic situation in the middle of a pandemic.”

Forest later tried to clarify that his criticism was about “the rule of law, not about the rightness of the decision made by the Governor.”

Meanwhile, Charlotte Public Health Director Gibbie Harris has raised the possibility of implementing shelter-in-place measures in Mecklenburg county. Speaking to county commissioners Tuesday evening, Harris also added gyms, health clubs and movie theaters to her list of places to limit gatherings to 50 people or less.

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