The Texas Bar & Nightclub Alliance said it plans to sue the state of Texas over Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent order once again shutting bars across the state.
“Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance (TBNA) is taking the necessary steps to protect the rights of our members and their employees across the state, who have been unjustly singled out by Governor Abbott,” TBNA president Michael E. Klein said in a statement.
Abbott on Friday ordered bars to close again after the state recorded days of record COVID-19 infection rates. The industry, which had already endured one weeks-long closure, was the only one the Republican governor required to completely shut down a second time.
In a weekend victory for Texas foodservice workers, Abbott announced
that Texas bars and restaurants are now able to sell pre-mixed alcoholic beverages to go, so long as the establishment already has “permanent food service capabilities at the premises.”
The move opens another revenue stream for the state's restaurant industry, which endured deep financial losses from COVID-19 pandemic. However, bars — whose sole or primary income is the sale of alcoholic beverages — continue to be left in the dust, advocates argue.
TBNA said its members want to be allowed to reopen and have the same capacity allowances as restaurants, grocery stores and big-box retailers. It will sue in both state and federal court seeking to override Abbott’s order.
The majority of Texas bars had been adhering to strict guidelines restricting occupancy and ensuring safe serving practices for both customers and employees, TBNA's Klein said. His take: if restaurants with bar rooms can operate at limited capacity, why can't actual bars?
“To suggest the public welfare is protected by singling out one specific type of alcoholic beverage license over another is without logic and does not further the aim of protecting the public from COVID,” he added.
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