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Colorado bars and restaurants sue governor over 'no alcohol after 10 pm' rule

Colorado bars and restaurants sue governor over 'no alcohol after 10 pm' rule
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A group of more than 200 bars and restaurants in Colorado filed a lawsuit against Gov. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Biden sales pitch heads to Virginia and Louisiana Colorado extends mask mandate, loosens restrictions for vaccinated Colorado state reps unanimously advance bill to allow to-go cocktails MORE (D) and the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment to block coronavirus guidelines that ban alcohol sales after 10 p.m. and limit capacity.

The Tavern League of Colorado filed the lawsuit on Thursday in a Denver district court, alleging that bars and restaurants have been singled out for “unfair and different treatment” and arguing there is no evidence suggesting they are contributing to the spread of the disease, according to report from Colorado Public Radio.

“We are extremely disappointed with the action Governor Polis took,” Stephanie Fransen Hicks, executive director of the Tavern League, said in a statement. “Restaurants and bars have gone above and beyond to keep both employees and patrons safe and continue to aggressively follow all health and safety guidelines.”

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Polis this week implemented a 10 p.m. last call as coronavirus cases continue to surge in the state.

He said during a press conference that thinks the current state ordinance — which requires bars to stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m. — is “bad law” and suggested local communities should set their own times. 

“People can stay out as long as they like, but if you do want to get inebriated, please do it at home with just a few other people,” Polis said. “And don't let your judgment lapse.”

The lawsuit, obtained by the outlet, also seeks to overturn capacity limits. It argues that the constraints are leading to an “alarming rate” of restaurant closures.

Colorado restaurants are currently allowed to serve at half capacity or up to 50 people based on whichever is fewer.

When asked about the lawsuit during a Thursday press event, Polis said the limits he imposed are necessary to curb the pandemic.

He added that if the numbers of coronavirus cases decline within the next two weeks, he would push last call to midnight.