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More on that bar owners’ lawsuit

It’s something, that’s for sure.

Maybe not the best messaging

They’re here. They serve beer. And they are hopping mad at Greg Abbott.

As the Washington Post’s Teo Amus reported Tuesday, a group of Texas bar owners from around the state has banded together to sue Governor Greg Abbott for what they believe is a prejudiced edict targeting bar-owning Americans.

“You can’t tell me that my tiny little bar is the problem,” said Tee Allen Parker, a 45-year-old bar owner from Kilgore who recently banned wearing masks in her establishment.

Frustrated by the initial shutdown, reopening and subsequent backpedaling in the face of surging coronavirus case numbers, Parker has singled out the governor as the one recurring feature in her misery.

“[Abbott]’s the problem,” Parker says. “He’s targeting us, and it’s discrimination.”

Parker and 21 other bar owners have joined with Houston attorney Jared Woodfill to sue the governor and state alcohol regulators for Friday’s order, which shut down bars and restaurants with alcohol-dominant revenue streams. They claim the order is unconstitutional and unfairly discriminates against bar people and bar spaces.

“It’s just a horde of infringement on people’s individual liberties and constitution,” said Woodfill, a high profile right-leaning litigator who has already filed six lawsuits against state and local governments for COVID-related orders since the pandemic’s beginning.

“This is one individual making draconian decisions that have destroyed the Texas economy.”

I noted this in an update to my local control post from yesterday; here’s the Trib story that was based on. I have three comments to make. One, to Tee Allen Parker, we can indeed tell you that your bar is part of the problem. Or at least, experts like Dr. Peter Hotez can tell you that. Maybe not your bar specifically, but bars as a category. I’m sorry, I truly am, that you’re going through this. It sucks, I agree. But bars really are an excellent vector for this virus. Two, for all the lawsuits that the Woodfill/Hotze machine have filed, we have no rulings or orders from any of them yet to gauge if they’re onto something, or just basically farting in our general direction. I wouldn’t put it past the State Supreme Court to issue some truly oddball rulings, but I also wouldn’t advise anyone to mistake either of these guys for legal geniuses. And three, I’ll ask again, when does Steven Hotze, Woodfill’s partner in crime, announce his primary challenge to Abbott? This all just feels more like real bad blood than a typical fight within the family. We’ll see.

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  1. Terrance says:

    I agree with the bar owners. Bars are part of the problem not the problem. Churches, restaurants, movie theaters, and amusement parks are allowed to be open and they can spread the virus just as much as bars. Abbott picked young people to be his scape goat so he closed the two things he thinks young people go to bars and tubing.

  2. Jules says:

    Tee Allen Parker banned masks in her bar. She is definitely part of the problem.

  3. mollusk says:

    With the bars closed, all the danged kids are going to end up on the lawn…

  4. Wolfgang says:

    Re: “Abbott picked young people to be his scape goat so he closed the two things he thinks young people go to bars and tubing.”

    – That’s the problem with formulating public health/pandemic-fighting policies based on political considerations, rather than based strictly on scientific ones (i.e., based on the best available evidence on transmission paths and patterns, and how to break transmission chains individually (person-to-person), and in congregate settings with super-spreader potential), coupled with consideration of comparative effectiveness/impact of various interventions. As for the latter, shutting down high-attendance/high-density events (Rodeo, political convention, church services, crowded nightclubs/bars) obviously promises scaled-up effectiveness.

  5. Alex Bunin says:

    Dr. Hotze versus Dr. Hotez? That is confusing, although only one actually engages in medicine and science.

  6. brad says:

    Did Abbott provide any empirical evidence on why bars are closed and not churches, cinemas, restaurants, etc. due to virus spread?

    That would obviously require contact tracing which Abbott has grossly underperformed on, among other things.

  7. Flypusher says:

    That’s a valid concern. I see bars, restaurants, movie theaters, amusement parks, etc. as equally risky, so I’m not going to any of them for the time being.

  8. […] here and here for the background. The Woodfill lawsuit was filed in state court and this one is in […]

  9. NW says:

    Tee Allen Parker is confused?! I’m confused by her ban on masks in her bar when her quote in The Guardian is that masks are “… an individual choice.” So if you’re banning masks in your bar you’re not exactly allowing for individual choice, are you? Furthermore, she also stated, “There’s been nothing scientific that says masks are effective.” That confuses me as well since there is plenty of evidence supporting the use of masks to slow the spread. I have linked just one of many available articles here for her.