PHOENIX - Bar owners with shuttered business doors due to Arizona COVID-19 health guidelines are hoping to have their day in court as more than 100 bar owners around the state joined a lawsuit looking to get the health guidelines order overturned.
They plan to hold a "Not Our Last Call" rally in downtown Phoenix Aug. 20 in hopes to make it known to Governor Doug Ducey that they no longer feel it's unsafe to reopen.
The benchmarks for bars to reopen include a COVID-19 testing percent positivity of 3% for a county and many counties in Arizona are a long ways away from that number.
“I don’t really know why we’re being singled out," said Mooney’s Irish Pub owner, Ian Juul.
Restaurants that serve alcohol are open and for that reason, Juul joined the lawsuit.
“In Sedona, in the Verde Valley, there are 100 competitors that remain open. I’m one of the few that remain closed. There’s just no logic in the application of what they’re trying to do," he said.
It comes down to which establishments have a series 6, 7 or 12 bar license. Bars with series 12 licenses are allowed to open.
An Arizona State University law professor explains the licensing differences.
“We have series 6 with 'restaurant' in the name of the establishment. We have series 6 with huge patio areas, just like they have series 12 with cramped spaces and no ventilation," explained ASU Law Professor, Ilan Wurman, adding, "There’s simply no connection with their requirements and public health guidelines."
Many bar owners are going to rally at the capitol, including the owners of Phoenix’s Swizzle Inn.
“We want to get back to work. We’re ready to get back to work. We feel we can safely and adequately serve our patrons just like several other businesses throughout the valley," said Courtney Kedzierski, Swizzle Inn bartender.
The bar owners are hoping to hear from the state's supreme court about whether or not they will get their time in court in the coming week.
For more on COVID-19 coverage in Arizona, visit https://www.fox10phoenix.com/shows/coronavirus-in-arizona