Bar owners, employees sue OKC Mayor over 11 p.m. bar closure proclamation
Mike Seals - November 26, 2020 11:17 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – In Oklahoma City, three bars and four bar employees are suing the city over Mayor David Holt’s proclamation that in-person service at bars must end at 11 p.m.
The lawsuit alleges Holt overstepped his legal authority and improperly cited the city’s Riot Control and Prevention Act when he declared a public disaster and issued the proclamation this month.
“The plain and unambiguous language of the RCPA makes clear that its intent is to control and prevent riots-not to contain the spread of pandemics,” according to the lawsuit.
City spokesperson Kristy Yager declined to comment on the pending litigation, which city attorneys moved from state to federal court because it makes claims under the U.S. Constitution.
Attorney Frank Urbanic, representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Oklahoma City, said he will file a new lawsuit that does not include federal claims.
Last week, Gov. Kevin Stitt declared a statewide emergency due to COVID-19 and issued restrictions on bars and restaurants that prohibit on-premises consumption of all food and beverages after 11 p.m.
Urbanic told The Associated Press on Wednesday that stopping the Oklahoma City declaration would not end the governor’s requirement that bars and restaurants stop in-person service at 11 p.m. He said the difference is the governor’s declaration carries no penalty while the city’s ordinance includes a possible $750 fine and up to six months in jail for those who violate it.
“Oklahoma City needs to be stopped first,” Urbanic said. “That would take the penalty out of it.”