AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance says it is planning to sue the State of Texas over Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent order that shut down bars across the state.
In an email to members, TBNA described the governor’s decision to once again close bars as “irresponsible and shameful” and urged bar owners to violate the order by remaining open.
Gov. Abbott’s latest executive order came as Texas drew national attention over the last week for hitting record numbers of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations linked to the virus.
“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” he said on Friday.
The announcement was made Friday morning. By 12 p.m. Friday, all bars in Texas had to close.
In response, TBNA told its members that it is preparing to file a lawsuit against the state.
“Our Board members have been generous in retaining legal counsel on behalf of all 51% licenses across the state so that we can file suit this week against the State in both state court and federal court seeking a TRO to end the Governor’s overreach,” it said.
The organization also said it has counsel “standing by to aid” any bar that is ticketed, fined, has its license suspended or is criminally charged for remaining open despite the order.
“In light of Greg Abbott’s irresponsible and shameful actions this morning that shutter the businesses that provide a livelihood for your families and employees, we support our members in the constitutional right to protest by keeping your businesses open,” TBNA said.
“TBNA has heard from members across the state all day expressing their rage that our businesses have once again unjustly been indefinitely closed without one shred of scientific evidence that bars and nightclubs pose any more of a public health hazard than a restaurant, grocery store, big box retailer, convenience store, health club, hair salon or the many of other business segments that cater to the public throughout the state of Texas,” it added.
TBNA also urged bar owners to contact them if they want to be a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the State.
Under Gov. Abbott’s order, any establishment that receives more than 51% of its sales from alcohol must close their doors, but they are permitted to remain open for take-out and delivery.
Starting Monday, restaurants have to scale back capacity to 50%.