Governor’s office will appeal judge’s ruling on opening bowling alleys

Judge James Gale – Image: nccourts.gov

Governor Roy Cooper’s office announced this afternoon that it will file an appeal of a state judge’s ruling granting a preliminary injunction in favor of bowling alley owners who had sued to be allowed to reopen facilities that had been ordered closed to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

In his 33-page ruling, Senior Business Court Judge James Gale found that the Governor’s office had failed to offer a rational basis for distinguishing between bowling establishments and other businesses such as restaurants that have been permitted to reopen under restricted circumstances and that the bowling businesses are likely to suffer irreparable harm if not allowed to reopen right away.

Gale’s ruling then went on to provide and endorse a list of 14 very specific requirements developed by the bowling industry with which alley operators must comply in order to be protected by the injunction. Among the requirements: the presence of at least one empty lane between bowling parties and no sharing of bowling balls, except by members of the same family.

Late this afternoon, a spokesperson for the governor issued the following statement in response to the judge’s ruling:

“Hospitalizations and positive cases are reaching record highs while the Governor works to get schools open and prevent the state from going backward on restrictions. The Governor will immediately appeal this ruling that harms both of these efforts.”

Raleigh’s News & Observer reported earlier today that “COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Carolina set a new record, rising to at least 989.”

Click here to read Judge Gale’s ruling.

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