Judge To Hear Lawsuit Against Gov. Stitt's COVID Restrictions For Bars, Restaurants

Friday, January 8th 2021, 7:26 am
By: Caleb Califano

The ongoing saga involving a lawsuit against Governor Kevin Stitt’s 11 p.m. bar and restaurant restrictions will be heard by an Oklahoma County judge on Friday.

The hearing begins at 1:30 p.m.

In total, six bars sued both the governor and ABLE commission in December, saying the COVID-19 restrictions placed on bars and restaurants overstepped their authority.

On December 17th, an Oklahoma County judge issued a temporary restraining order allowing those six bars to remain open past 11 p.m., which is when the Governor's executive order requires all bars and restaurants to close.

Since then, the ABLE Commission has also stated they will not enforce that curfew for all bars and restaurants until the judge makes a final decision on the restriction.

Come Friday afternoon, the state will have to defend the executive order and thoroughly explain why closing bars and restaurants at 11 p.m. is essential for public health.

Health officials across the state say keeping bars open in the late-night hours can be dangerous, especially on holidays.

“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.”