The Tavern League of Colorado dropped its lawsuit against Gov. Jared Polis on Monday, challenging Polis’ executive orders to mandate limited occupancy and an 11 p.m. last call for restaurants and breweries.
“The lawsuit was too expensive to maintain,” said Chris Fusilier, owner of Blake Street Tavern in Denver and a lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
“We would not get a trial for another year or so and all of us are starving. This is the absolute worst time for us to be contributing money to a cause that we don’t have.”
“We do believe that if economics weren’t in place that we would have prevailed in a trial.”
In the suit, the League argued that Colorado’s forced last call and 50-people-per-room occupancy limit were killing the struggling industry and would result in shutdowns.
Attorney Jordan Factor told 9News the League filed paperwork Monday afternoon to withdraw the lawsuit.
“The Tavern League has reluctantly decided that it must dismiss the suit because it was too expensive to maintain, especially in light of the devastating economic blow our members have suffered,” Factor told 9News.
Polis’ order was based on epidemiological data, scientific studies and contact tracing showing a decrease in cases among 20- to 29-year-olds, the age group which spends the most time in bars and restaurants later into the evening.
There are 18 active COVID-18 outbreaks originating from restaurants and bars/breweries, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Wednesday.
There are an additional 57 outbreaks originating from restaurants and bars/breweries that have been resolved. Outbreaks are defined as at least two positive cases.
Polis extended the executive order for another 30 days on Aug. 21, with the order beginning on July 21. As the expiration approaches, Fusilier is hoping Polis won’t renew again.
“We’re really hoping that next week the 11 p.m. last call rule will expire, and the governor either restores us to a 2 a.m. last call or meets us in the middle with a midnight last call,” Fusilier said.
The August extension modified the order to push last call back to 11 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. In August, Polis said that if the data continues to show positive trends he could possibly change last to midnight within a month.
Fusilier said he hopes if the state’s low positivity rates continue that the indoor capacity rates will be raised to 50%.