A group representing bar and restaurant owners in Colorado has filed a lawsuit against the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the state's governor following an executive order he issued stopping alcohol sales at bars and restaurants at 10 p.m.
The Tavern League of Colorado, which represents 200 bar and restaurant owners, filed a lawsuit last Wednesday, saying that Governor Jared Polis' executive order has singled out bars and restaurants for “unfair and different treatment," according the suit, obtained by The Denver Channel. The lawsuit also states that there is "no evidence that bars and restaurants spread COVID-19 more than any other non-essential business."
“We are extremely disappointed with the action Governor Polis took,” executive director of the Tavern League Stephanie Fransen Hicks told Colorado Public Radio in a statement: “Restaurants and bars have gone above and beyond to keep both employees and patrons safe and continue to aggressively follow all health and safety guidelines.”
In addition to trying to overturn the executive order, which moved last call from 2 a.m. to 10 p.m. for 30 days, the group is also looking to get capacity limits overturned. The state currently allows 50 percent capacity or up to 50 people in indoor locations. Governor Polis issued a statement regarding the suit, also obtained by The Denver Channel, which read in part:
These are challenging times and no one wants Colorado’s small businesses to bounce back stronger more than the Governor. Based on the data and science, the Governor feels he is taking the steps that are absolutely critical in order to keep our economy reopening and prevent the virus from gaining a stranglehold. The fate of our state in both virus suppression and economic recovery is largely in the hands of Coloradans.
The executive order went into effect last Thursday but the group has a court hearing on July 29.
Bars and restaurants have become particularly hot topics as COVID-19 cases continue to spike in the U.S. The restaurant and bar industries have both taken enormous hits these past few months and many are expected to remain permanently closed. At the same time, Dr. Anthony Fauci has urged states seeing spikes in cases to close bars and consider being stricter with indoor dining guidelines.
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