A Texas bar in Pasadena decided to host a “Texas Bars Fight Back Rally” over the weekend, inviting patrons to grab a drink and hit the dance floor in defiance of the state’s shutdown orders.
Chuters Dance Hall & Saloon opened on Sunday, creating what the Houston Chronicle described as a “shocking scene … a dance floor full of patrons – many not wearing masks – danced to a live band as the alcohol flowed, breaking several COVID-19 state health protocols.”
The protest follows Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) June 26 order halting the Lone Star State’s reopening process by shutting down bars, which had been permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity since June 12, and reducing restaurant capacity to 50 percent because of a surge in coronavirus cases.
“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” Abbott said at the time. “The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health.”
Chris and Helen Bergeron, owners of the Chuters Dance Hall & Saloon, organized a protest outside of the Texas State Capitol following Abbott’s decision last month. Chris said the governor’s decision did not make any sense “whatsoever,” describing it as “discrimination.”
“I’m not sure why they are picking on us. … I don’t know what (the governor’s) reasons are, but it’s wrong. It’s completely wrong. It’s totally against our constitutional right,” he said.
At the time, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Bergerons would have had to close down their club had the governor extended the initial lockdowns.
“Now, Helen said she doesn’t know if they will last this time around as Abbott has not given a reopen date for bars,” the outlet reported.
The owners told Newsweek that they have been contacted by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, following their Sunday opening.
“We just want to exercise our right to earn a living. There is no data to prove that any COVID-19 came from a bar or nightclub so until that can be proven we should be allowed to open,” Helen said.
“We have a right to make a living and our employees have a right to feed their families,” she told the outlet.
Several Texas bar owners have filed a lawsuit against the governor over his orders.
Texas reported 10,745 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, bringing the total 275,058. The state has also recorded 3,322 coronavirus-related fatalities.