The lawsuit was filed in Travis County District Court by Jared Woodfill, a Houston attorney who has led previous legal efforts opposing Abbott’s other shutdown orders during the pandemic.
“Why does he continue unilaterally acting like a king?” said Woodfill, former chair of the Harris County Republican Party, of Abbott in an interview with The Texas Tribune. “He’s sentencing bar owners to bankruptcy.”
Announcing the shutdown June 26, Abbott said the actions of his executive order "are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health."
Dozens of Texas bar owners—including those who run Machine Shed Bar & Grill in Kilgore, Shots and Crafts in Denton and Big Daddy Zanes in Odessa—disagree, and they have positioned themselves in a legal standoff with the governor as hospitals across the state fill up with sick Texans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The move June 29 by bar owners also comes as millions of Texans are jobless, including many people who have applied for unemployment benefits but have not yet received them. The bar and restaurant industry has been hit especially hard. Nearly 800,000 workers in the restaurant industry have lost their jobs since March, according to the Texas Restaurant Association.
Abbott, who decided June 26 to close down bars again to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, said over the weekend that he would like a do-over on the state's bars.
"If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars, now seeing in the aftermath of how quickly the coronavirus spread in the bar setting," Abbott said during an interview with KVIA-TV in El Paso.
Read the original Texas Tribune article here.