‘Bar Lives Matter.’ Texas bar owners protest state closing businesses due to COVID-19

Chacour Koop

Texas bar owners are using the slogan “Bar Lives Matter” in protests against the governor closing their businesses as COVID-19 cases surge in the state.

Arguing they’re unfairly targeted, the establishments demonstrating against Gov. Greg Abbott’s shutdown order have taken up the variation of Black Lives Matter, the organization protesting police violence against African Americans.

Abbott ordered the closure of bars last week as coronavirus cases surged to record-breaking levels in the state. The mandate also reduced restaurant capacity to 50%.

On Sunday, Tee Allen Parker, the owner of a bar in Kilgore, Texas, hosted “Bar Lives Matter,” an event outside her establishment protesting Abbott’s order, the Houston Chronicle reported. She’s among a group of bar owners who’ve filed a lawsuit against the order, according to the newspaper.

The lawsuit was filed by Jared Woodfill, the former chairman of the Harris County GOP, who’s sued the state and county six times over coronavirus restrictions, The Washington Post reported.

“Clearly, bar owners have less interaction, proximity or frequency with patrons than beauticians, or cosmetologists, or tattoo artists,” the lawsuit obtained by CBS News says.

Abbott says congregating at bars contributed to the state’s spike in cases.

On Tuesday, protesters gathered in front of the governor’s mansion to protest, KXAN reported. Video shows protesters in clothing and waving signs with the “Bar Lives Matter” slogan.

A Facebook page organizing the event says bars “pay the consequences” while people who protested recently in other Texas cities did not.

It was an apparent reference to nationwide protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer pinned his neck to the ground for about eight minutes.

“60k protesters filled the streets of downtown Houston, Thousands of protesters filled the streets of Austin and Dallas with zero care of Social Distancing guidelines,” the Facebook event page says. “They were able to do whatever they liked with out consequence.”

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