Gov. Ducey cites following 'guidance of public health' for not reopening some bars

Bar owners all over the Valley are coming together demanding a reopening after being shuttered to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

On the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 19, a group of bar owners with series 6 and 7 liquor licenses asked Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to give them the same opportunities as restaurants and other businesses to reopen.

But in a statement released by Ducey's office on Aug. 19, he said he's following the guidance of public health when it comes to the reopening of bars.

Bar owners shared stories about being forced to permanently shut down or they have had to eat away their entire life savings. They believe they are being discriminated against just because of the number in front of their license.

"We are losing our livelihood. Our employees, they don’t have money, they are losing their houses," said Lucie Stevens, owner of Lucie Sage and Sand Bar in Glendale.

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Scott is the owner of Draw 10 Bar and Grill and says, “I have been robbed of my rights to earn a living and employees are without a job and some have not gotten employment.”

They say Ducey's order to shut them down is a double standard.

These bar owners have series 6 and 7 liquor licenses, meaning they can serve beer, wine and spirits, without the requirement to serve food.

During the pandemic, Ducey ordered the closure of bars with series 6 and 7 licenses, even though the owners say they have kitchens and serve food on a regular basis anyway.

“There is no reason a patron should be able to go across the street to have a burger and a beer and not be able to come here and have that same burger and beer because of the number on our license," said Ronetta Andersen, owner of Final Round in Tempe.

Restaurants have series 12 licenses, and these bar owners are questioning why accommodations were made for restaurants to sell alcohol to go, which is usually only allowed for bars with a series 6 license.

“If they change the rule for the 12's why can’t they change the rules for 6’s that operate like a restaurant," ____ said, adding, “We are asking to have the same opportunity of a license 12.”

Ducey released a statement Aug. 19 on the continued closure of the bars:

"We're being cautious and following the guidance of public health. We've established data-driven benchmarks to enable businesses to gradually resume operations once it's safe to do so. Businesses going above and beyond the required health guidance have the ability to work with the department of health services to open earlier. We've also been in regular communication with the business community. We know this is a sacrifice for many, and we appreciate their efforts to combat this pandemic."