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In the News: Lt. Governor questions validity of governor's NC restaurant ban

The following excerpt was originally published on WRAL.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Lt. Gov. Dan Forest questioned the validity of Gov. Roy Cooper's order Tuesday afternoon to shut down in-house seating at North Carolina bars and restaurants, saying the governor doesn't have the authority to do it.

Forest said the governor didn't get concurrence from other Council of State members before announcing his decision Tuesday morning, failing to satisfy a requirement in the section of state law that lays out his emergency powers.

"Thus, he does not have the authority to issue this part of his executive order," Forest said in a statement posted to Twitter about 4 p.m.

Cooper spokeswoman Sadie Weiner pushed back quickly. The governor's order was set to take effect at 5 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day, closing bars and restaurants except for drive-thru, takeout and delivery service, in an effort to mute transmission of the new coronavirus.

"It's one thing to disagree, it's another to create a chaotic situation in the middle of a pandemic," Weiner said in a statement. "The governor is taking action to protect the health and safety of North Carolinians and does not need concurrence. The governor and the secretary of (the Department of Health and Human Services) have the authority to do this under state public health and emergency powers law."

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