Texas Bar Owners Protest, File Lawsuit over Governor’s Closures

A bartender serves a drink to a customer at a bar in Austin, Texas on May 22, 2020. - Austin allowed bingo halls, bars and bowling alleys to reopen on Friday May 22. (Photo by Sergio Flores / AFP) (Photo by SERGIO FLORES/AFP via Getty Images)
SERGIO FLORES/AFP via Getty Images

Texas bar owners are protesting the governor’s decision to shut down bars across the state as coronavirus cases tick up, with several lodging a lawsuit to block the emergency order.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) shut down bars in Texas on Friday following a spike in coronavirus cases in the Lone Star state.

Abbott explained last week:

At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, “about two dozen bar owners and private citizens” filed a lawsuit on Monday in an effort to upend the governor’s order:

The lawsuit was filed in Travis County District Court by Jared Woodfill, a Houston lawyer who has led similar legal challenges to Abbott’s previous shutdown orders during the pandemic.

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The lawsuit argues that Abbott’s order suspended state laws, a power that the Texas Constitution reserves for the Legislature, and improperly picked winners and losers among state businesses.

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