by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
My latest research brief looks at the death of a local Irish pub. What happened to Trali Irish Pub in Morrisville is what is happening all across North Carolina. The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association estimates that only 35 percent of restaurants can make it after two months of being shut down or having limited operations.
Roughly two-thirds of restaurants might not survive Cooper’s shutdown. As the brief makes clear, (a) we’ll never know how many might’ve survived if Cooper gave them the chance, and (b), Cooper owns the shutdown because Cooper went it alone to shut restaurants like Trali down.
What follows is a section of the research brief:
Thursday night, friends of mine were lamenting the loss, just announced, of Trali Irish Pub in Morrisville. I’ve gone there a few times. It was a good pub. I saw live Celtic music performances, heard readings of Robert Burns’ poetry, saw local Celtic dance troupes, and listened to Wake and District Pipes and Drums band. Most of all, I was with friends and enjoyed being in the midst of the area’s lively Celtic community.
Remember that word, community.
The day before Cooper’s shutdowns, which happened to be the day before St. Patrick’s Day, which is the biggest day of the year for an Irish pub, here is what Trali announced (on Facebook):
An Irish pub cancelling live music on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day is being very serious about its customers’ safety. These were sober-minded measures being taken to keep staff safe, keep customers safe, and to stay in business.
These were the sort of measures that State Treasurer Dale Folwell spoke of when he urged Cooper against his order:
[The executive order] should highly encourage these limitations on operations, NOT mandate them. The eating establishments that I frequent are two steps ahead. We should honor their tough decisions and the common sense of North Carolinian’s. (Not to mention the total disruption of the LARGEST component of North Carolina’s economy).
After Cooper’s shutdown, Trali attempted to go the takeout route:
But a pub is not built for a takeout joint. Pub stands for public house. It’s not a mere restaurant; it’s a gathering place for the community. Remember the list of experiences I had there? Music, dancing, poetry, fellowship. Losing a pub is loss of community.
Trali owners announced yesterday: