A group of representing more than 200 Colorado bars and restaurants filed suit against the state health department Tuesday, arguing against state capacity limits set to combat the spread of COVID-19, the owner of one member tavern said.
Chris Fuselier, owner of the Blake Street Tavern, said the Tavern League of Colorado filed the lawsuit against the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in Denver District Court and would file an amended complaint Wednesday to stop Gov. Jared Polis’ order that last call for alcohol shift from 2 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Attorney Jordan Factor confirmed that the lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Denver District Court. It asks a judge to stop — by order of injunction — the state from enforcing capacity limits.
@CDPHE My Restaurant is a member of the Tavern League, a group of 200 CO Restaurants and today we filed a Complaint re capacity limits. Tomorrow, we are filing an Amended Complaint + Motion for Temporary Restraining Order re @GovofCO arbitrary Order re 10 pm last call for drinks! pic.twitter.com/8jHk2WpuER
— Chris Fuselier (@ChrisJFuselier) July 21, 2020
Colorado restaurants are currently allowed to serve at half capacity or up to 50 people, whichever is fewer.
Polis aired his frustrations with partiers drinking in social settings after a state report found that the 20-29 age group is leading the spread of infection in Colorado. Overall virus cases and hospitalizations have about doubled in the past two weeks.
But Fuselier called the new order arbitrary. He said the order is devastating to restaurants and said Polis “continues to blame restaurants for COVID-19 problems without any data or science.”
The Blake Street Tavern can seat up to 900 people but under the current limits it’s restricted to a mere fraction of that, Fuselier said. The state’s capacity limits aren’t a good one-size-fits-all option.
“We’re getting killed,” he said.
And now Polis’ order will take the other leg out from underneath restaurants, Fuselier said. Already they’re at diminished capacities but to shrink their hours as well is a bridge too far.
“We’re in such bad shape, the timing couldn’t be worse,” Fuselier said.
A representative for Polis could not immediately be reached for comment.
Fuselier has been active on Twitter, championing the restaurant and service industry, calling for Polis to impose a statewide mask mandate and applauding the governor when he did so last week. But still he said more time should have been allowed after imposing the mask mandate before putting new regulations in place.
Victory! Colorado Governor Polis issued a State Wide Mask Mandate! https://t.co/TVq0LxdBZN via @Change
Thank you to all for putting up with my rants about @GovofCO not implementing a State mandate the past several weeks until today! 😷
— Chris Fuselier (@ChrisJFuselier) July 16, 2020
Source: Thanks https://www.greeleytribune.com/2020/07/22/colorado-restaurant-sue-state-health-department-covid19/