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Coronavirus

Group of Texas Bar Owners Sues to Reopen Amid Pandemic

AUSTIN, Texas — A group of Texas bar owners filed lawsuits Monday seeking to overturn Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that closed their businesses to help contain the spread of the coronavirus in the state.

Abbott has pinpointed the re-opening of bars last month as one of the sources behind a dramatic spike in new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations that has made Texas a national hotspot in a virus resurgence.

The lawsuits filed in Austin, Houston and Galveston allege Abbott doesn’t have the authority under the state constitution to make such an order, and that it targets bars while allowing other establishments, such as hair and nail salons and tattoo studios to remain open.

Abbott’s order shuttered establishments that make at least 51 percent of their revenue from alcohol sales. It also trimmed restaurant dining capacity from 75 percent to 50 percent.”

The bar owners say Abbott should bring the Legislature into a special session to address the issue.

A spokesman for Abbott did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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