As some gather for New Year’s Eve, local bars and restaurants are able to stay open late throughout the metro.
“New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest nights of the year,” said Steve Brack, owner of Western Nights Bar. “It’s huge for us.”
New Year’s Eve business was in jeopardy earlier this month after Governor Kevin Stitt ordered bars and restaurants to halt liquor sales at 11 p.m. each night.
“Some of the other bars have been devastated nearly going out of business,” said Daniel Capps, owner of Redneck Yacht Club.
A group of bar owners sued Stitt, saying the restriction was unconstitutional. They hoped their action would keep struggling restaurants and bars alive into the New Year.
“Trying to save our business and pull it out of the unnecessary debts that have been put into by having to close our doors,” Brack said.
Two weeks ago, a judge ruled in favor of those bars and restaurants, temporarily letting them serve past 11 p.m. until the dispute is settled.
However, local health officials are concerned that a night like this could cause an additional increase in COVID-19 cases.
“You’re very likely to be in an enclosed, indoor space,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler with OU Medical Center. “Not physically distanced, the risk of transmitting the virus in that setting is very high.”
A court hearing was set for Wednesday, but it was moved to January which means these businesses can stay open until 2 a.m. Friday.
In the meantime, metro bars and restaurants plan to make whatever money they can.
“The reason we’re at where we’re at now is because they can’t seem to find those answers, so we’re going to have the court systems get those answers,” Brack said.