The General Assembly continues to be in full swing as legislators work mainly to address pandemic-related needs of North Carolinians, as well as various other budget matters. As many predicted after a contentious floor debate in the House, Governor Cooper vetoed House Bill 536: Temporary Outdoor Restaurants for Outdoor Seating. This bill would have allowed private bars and clubs to reopen under specified conditions similar to restaurants currently, with outdoor seating capacity limited to the lesser of 50% of the establishment’s indoor capacity, or 100 customers. This week, legislators took a new approach to passing similar language with another vehicle: House Bill 594: Temporarily Open Gyms/Health Clubs/Fitness Centers, which would reopen both gyms and bars at 50% capacity. Both attempts to reopen businesses that Gov. Cooper has closed in an executive order are sponsored by Republican Senator Rick Gunn of Burlington. Sen. Gunn also amended the bill on the floor to allow the Governor to close gyms, bars, and other businesses again if a spike were to occur, if approved by the rest of the Council of State. The House passed House Bill 594 with a mostly partisan split of 69-50. The Senate was largely split by party too, voting to pass the bill with a 36-13 vote, with seven Democrats voting in support of the legislation. The bill has now been presented to the Governor so it will be interesting to see what he does with the bill in light of the recent uptick in cases and hospitalizations. Read the full report here.