Texas bar owners sue to overturn closures

A group of bar owners in Texas filed lawsuits Monday in an attempt to overturn Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) order closing their businesses in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus as cases in the state spike. 

The lawsuits filed in Austin, Houston and Galveston allege that Abbott does not have the authority to make such an order and claim it specifically targets bars while other businesses, such as salons and tattoo parlors, are allowed to remain open, The Associated Press reported. 

The bar owners reportedly said Abbott should call the legislature into a special session to address the issue. 

“Gov. Abbott continues to act like a king,” Jared Woodfill, an attorney for the bar owners, told the AP. “Abbott is unilaterally destroying our economy and trampling on our constitutional rights.”

The Hill has reached out to Abbott’s office for comment. 

On Friday, Abbott announced an order to reimpose some restrictions as the number of cases in the state spiked. The order requires bars to shut down by noon on Friday and reined in restaurants, allowing them to operate at 50 percent capacity. 

Several states have halted reopening plans amid spikes, but Texas was the first to reimpose restrictions that had been lifted.

Over the weekend, Abbott expressed regret for allowing bars to reopen. 

“If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars, now seeing in the aftermath of how quickly the coronavirus spread in the bar setting,” he said in an interview last week with KVIA in El Paso.

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