Frustrated Texas bar owners and their supporters say they are tired of being ignored. They have planned a showdown Friday in Austin at the headquarters of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The three-hour protest will begin at noon Friday in Northwest Austin.
“Our businesses are doomed,” said co-owner Chris Polone of the Fort Worth bar The Rail Club Live. “Like I said before, we have nothing to lose. We can either fight this thing, or we can starve ourselves out.”
Bar owners across the state have been sharing horror stories about the economic disaster caused by the Governor’s bar shutdown on a Facebook group called “Texas Bars Fight Back!” Just this week, the cancer-stricken owner of the Friendswood bar named “Friends Pub,” detailed her showdown with Friendswood police. Bars fighting back against the shutdown have faced retaliation.
“The state’s health department has simply refused to provide any evidence justifying this devastating discrimination against Texas bars,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of the Houston investigative media firm Dolcefino Consulting. “Small businesses across the state are being destroyed while restaurant bars are packed.”
The protest follows a discovery by Dolcefino Consulting that currently, state health department officials aren’t even able to tie the spread of COVID-19 to Texas bars. “With the outbreak spreading as quickly and widely as it has been over the past six weeks or so, it’s often difficult to pinpoint exactly where someone contracted a case because there has been so much transmission going on. We don’t yet have that level of detail from the big metro health departments and others that continue to do their own case investigations,” said Chris Van Deusen, the Director of Media Relations for the Department of State Health Services on August 4, 2020.
“What are we doing? Why are we targeting bars and forcing them to close down when we can’t even pinpoint where someone contracted a case of COVID-19?” says Dolcefino.
Gary Devito owns Uncle Gary’s in Pflugerville. His frustration is echoed across the state.
“If Abbott wants to f-up Texas he has done a good job,” said Devito.
It is that kind of anger that sets up the showdown Friday.
The headquarters of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is located at 5806 Mesa Drive, Austin, Texas 78731. The protest will begin at noon.