(The Center Square) – Bar owners in Austin, Houston and Galveston are suing Gov. Greg Abbott over his latest order that shuts down bars again as the number of coronavirus cases increase across the state.
The lawsuits claim that Abbott is overstepping his authority in shutting bars down. They also maintain that the governor is unfairly restricting their businesses while not placing the same restrictions on others.
The bar owners want Abbot to call a special session of the Texas legislature to take up the matter.
More than 153,000 Texas residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 2,400 have died. The number of new cases has increased in recent weeks after the governor eased restrictions.
The number of hospitalizations also have increased and the positivity rate for those being tested in Texas for the coronavirus also increased above 10 percent. The governor previously said that if positivity rates increased by 10 percent, the state would revert to more restrictive measures.
“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10 percent, the state of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said Friday in announcing the new restrictions. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health.”