Will Cheek's Last Call Blog
Fox eats crow over Mayors handling of downtown bar closures
Sep 18, 2020
We have heard a steady stream of queries from bar owners about potential lawsuits over the city’s handling of health orders during COVID-19.
Recently retracted news from a local Fox News affiliate reported that the Mayor’s office withheld important health information.
Contradictory information concerning whether the Mayor, in fact, withheld any information quickly emerged.
It certainly looks like Nate Rau covered the story back in early August. Although the Mayor’s office may have wanted to conceal information, the news was public less than a week after the e-mails in the Fox 17 news report.
That said, there are lawsuits proceeding and bars are obviously free to pursue legal recourse against the city. We personally question whether the city should have imposed different limitations on occupancy for bars and restaurants after it became clear that closing the bars did not resolve social distancing problems on lower Broadway. Socially irresponsible crowds packed downtown restaurants.
Whether this rises to the level of meriting a lawsuit – we are not certain.
In our humble opinion, bars and restaurants should be treated equally: distance tables, require patrons to stay seated, and mandatory masks when patrons enter, leave and walk to the restroom. And the city should have effective enforcement measures to make sure there is a level playing field - including use of the beer board.
In any event, we wish restaurant, bar, hotel and venue owners the best as you navigate these difficult times.