Hundreds of Texas bar owners pledge defiance to Abbott order

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Hundreds of Texas bar owners say they’ll defy Gov. Greg Abbott’s mandate that ordered them closed after a surge in coronavirus cases.

Fort Worth bar owner Chris Polone has organized what’s labeled as “Freedom Fest,” in which hundreds of bar owners say they’ll open their doors and set ’em up Saturday. About 800 bar owners have promised participation, Polone told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which could place their state liquor licenses in jeopardy.

The Republican governor had allowed bars to reopen with restrictions, only to order them closed again on June 26 after the state experienced a resurgent outbreak in the virus that causes COVID-19.

Bars must adhere to safety measures that include taking customers' temperatures before entering, maintaining social distancing, requiring face coverings and having hand sanitizer available, Polone said. He said he plans to use a germicide approved by the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention to fog his place.

Participants will charge a $10 cover charge, the proceeds of which will go to a charity of the bar owner's choice, Polone said.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is aware of the event and will be conducting inspections, said commission spokesman Chris Porter. Violators of the order could face a 30-day suspension of their liquor license.

The commission already has suspended the license for Polone's place, The Rail Club Live, after a July 4 protest of governor's order, which he called the Rail Club Tea Party. A hearing on that suspension is set for Monday.

Other venues may choose to serve alcoholic beverages, but Polone said his place will not.

More From

  • Hayward scores 31 as Celtics edge Magic 122-119 in OT

    Gordon Hayward hit three free throws with 2:29 left in overtime, and the Boston Celtics beat the Orlando Magic 122-119 on Sunday for their third straight victory. The Celtics hadn't scored in overtime until Hayward went to the line after being fouled by Nikola Vucevic. Hayward finished with 31 points and Jayson Tatum scored 29, including the tying basket with 4.2 seconds left in regulation.

  • The Latest: Collin Morikawa chips in on 14th for PGA lead

    Collin Morikawa chipped in for a birdie on the 14th hole to take the lead at the PGA Championship. Morikawa was 4 under through 14 holes after holing his chip shot from 54 feet away. Third-round leader Dustin Johnson and Scottie Scheffler were among those at 10 under and still on the course.

  • Hardy, two-sport star, architect of Orange Crush dies at 87

    Carroll Hardy, a multi-sport star best known as the only man ever to pinch hit for Ted Williams, died Sunday at age 87. Hardy was also known as the football executive who helped assemble the ''Orange Crush'' defense in Denver during the 1970s. The University of Colorado, where Hardy was a three-sport star, said he died of complications from dementia.

  • Player, spectators stabbed in Sydney rugby league violence

    One man has been charged and another remains under police guard in a hospital after a low-tier rugby league game in Sydney ended with one player allegedly stabbed another competitor and two spectators. Australian Associated Press reported Monday that New South Wales state police had arrested and charged a 20-year-old man with affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Police and emergency services were called to Old Saleyards Reserve in North Parramatta on Sunday following reports of an assault after an under-20s community game between Wentworthville Magpies and Penrith Brothers.