Denver District Court Judge Brian Whitney refused to grant an injunction requested by bar and restaurant owners to block the Gov. Jared Polis’ order aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. He told the court, “You don’t play with a loaded gun and COVID is a loaded gun.”
Whitney said he understood the economic hardship being caused by the order.
Gov. Jared Polis ordered restaurants to stop serving at 10 p.m. for the next 30 days, hoping to slow the spread of coronavirus among people in their 20s.
A judge has ruled against the Denver bars fighting the governor’s order to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. The owner of the Blake Street Tavern asked for a temporary restraining order allowing them to serve after 10 p.m. while a lawsuit moves forward.
The judge ruled against the bar owner’s request – and also kept capacity limits in place.
During a news conference on Thursday, before the judge’s decision was announced, Polis stated: “…getting drunk is one of the main reason that people go out to these nighttime environments [and] it’s inconsistent with maintaining proper social distancing and being safe.”
Chris Fuselier, the owner of the Blake Street Tavern by Coors Field was not happy with the refusal of the judge to block the order.
“Devastating to me. I mean I have such a huge place, 900-person capacity and we’re limited to 100 people. That’s 11% occupancy.”
Polis said that other states that allowed bars to fully reopen ended up having to close them – along with other businesses.
“This is one of the minimal interventions – the least damaging, the least bad choice of many bad choices – that will allow the economy to remain open, and people to stay reasonably safe and prevent further setbacks that would come a great loss of life and great damage to our economy,” Polis stated.
But tavern owners insisted they should not be singled out when liquor stores can remain open.
Mark Berzins is the CEO of Little Pub Holdings, “They are hitting a few buttons, the behavior of a few 20-29 year olds and saying let’s hit the shutdown button at 10 o’clock.”
This may be appealed or go to a full trial.
Whitney summarized his decision by saying, “We all want to live through this and have a life worth living.”