Local bar owners look at litigation against state after second COVID-19 shutdown

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Some local bar owners are looking to fight back after the state’s latest shutdown.

Local bar owners are beginning to meet with each other and attorneys about what their options are. And Old Town Saloon owner and attorney Rick Bunch said the order violates the rights of bar owners.

“There was no notice here,” Bunch said. “And due process of the 14th amendment declares or requires that you have notice and an opportunity to be heard before you’re punished.”

Owners are now meeting with each other and other attorneys to discuss legal action.

“It would probably be a class action. I’m suspecting that there’s probably some movement going on throughout the state of Texas and this may end up being one great, big, giant litigation,” Bunch said.

This past weekend, the Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance announced plans to sue the state of Texas. If federal judges were to only take one case made up of many bars instead of local cases like this one, Bunch would join the giant litigation.

“We did nothing wrong. We went according to the rules and nobody’s coming out of there sick. And yet I’m out of business with regard to the bar.”

Bunch said he has about 30 bars interested in bringing litigation to the state. If this litigation does not go through, he sees one dangerous possibility in the future of local bars.

“Bankruptcy. And the loss of thousands and thousands of jobs and harm a lot of people.”

That would mean more harm to a lot of people who are already feeling the financial burden of being shut down during COVID-19.

Texas Alcohol Beverage Code says there are no violations in Wichita Falls to date. Health officials across the state say many of the recent cases of COVID-19 among younger residents, can be traced back to bars and other social gatherings.

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