How have North Carolinians reacted to the COVID-19 restrictions?


Airman 1st Class Mindy Bloem

Roy Cooper, North Carolina Attorney General, gives a keynote address to Airmen during the opening ceremony of Military Saves Week at the Airman and Family Readiness Center Feb. 23.

Many local business owners are not pleased with Gov. Roy Cooper and how he handled the Coronavirus pandemic in North Carolina. As far back as March, Cooper was criticized for how he handled the Coronavirus spreading, as many alleged that what he was doing was damaging the economy.

One of his most vocal opponents, Lt. Governor and Republican challenger Dan Forest, was quick to criticize Cooper about this several times. The most aggressive action that Forest had taken against Cooper was a lawsuit alleging that he should not be allowed to make any executive decisions without a majority of elected officials in the Council of State; said council is mostly made up of Republicans. He has, however, dropped the case against our current governor, but he still criticized Cooper about this in debates between the two.

 “I did my part,” Forest said. “If y’all want your freedoms back you’ll have to make your voices heard in November.”

Another critic of Cooper’s legislation took a more unusual approach to how he criticized the governor. Back in early September, it was reported on by WFMY NEWS 2 about a strange billboard on Battleground Ave which displayed messages like ‘Where’s the Logic’ and ‘The Governor is in Control.’ It was Marty Kotis, owner of Red Cinemas and other businesses, who had erected these signs that had an art style inspired by Soviet-era propaganda.

“I hope people think about the science, and also think about the politics that are involved here,” Mr. Kotis said, “because politics should not be involved in science and health safety decisions. It should be about how to keep people safe, which I’m 100 percent supportive of.”

It is important to note that several of Kotis’ many business holdings were affected by Cooper’s decisions and only recently was it announced that movie theaters could open at 30 percent capacity under Phase 3 of Cooper’s plan. Another important fact to note is that Kotis is a Republican as well as being a major Republican donor, although he has donated to Democrats before.

Forest is not the only person attempting to sue Cooper over this as many small businesses in North Carolina have attempted to sue him over what they feel is a violation of the North Carolina Constitution’s right to work, including Patriot Axe Throwing owner and army veteran Michael Pastelak.

‘There is no public health justification for the disparate treatment,’ the lawsuit alleged.

Pastelak also said he had lost about $55 thousand since his business had closed in March, only reopening with a limited capacity back in May. The lawsuit alleges that the governor should not have ‘unchecked and unbridled’ power to order businesses to close. Pastelak is a Republican that is currently running for Catawba County commissioner.

Despite what it may seem, these North Carolinians have a lot more in common other than being concerned citizens interested in restoring the economy. All of the people above belong to the Republican Party and in Kotis’ case, support and donate to some Republicans and their campaigns. The Republican Party seems to be more interested in opening up the economy than anything else.