Texas business owners speak out against decision to close bars

U.S. & World

"You've closed nothing down but the bars. This is discrimination. Period. Discrimination."

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ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – Some bar owners are upset following Texas Governor Abbott’s decision to close down bars yet again. A group of people met outside Odessa City Hall, Tuesday morning, to rally up support.

Shane Tatum, organizer of the demonstration, has been a traveling DJ for 35 years. He says the bar industry, along with his friends in music, are being singled out by Abbott.

“You’ve closed nothing down but the bars,” said Tatum, “This is discrimination. Period. Discrimination. This is our job. We all sustained life during the first cut. This second cut — we can’t do this. I’m outraged. I’m above and beyond mad. I can’t do this anymore, I can’t.”

Tatum claims those in the bar industry are essential workers, often times providing emotional support for the well-being of their patrons.

“We’re here for you. Be here for us. We’ve always been there for you.”

Among the crowd of local bar owners was a familiar face. Owner of Big Daddy Zane’s, Gabrielle Ellison, says she is right back to square one.

“This is sad. This is sad. Once again, here we are. Workers out, DJs out, bands out. Everybody doesn’t have a job anymore,” said Ellison. “I don’t know how these people are going to eat. I mean, bar owners are going to lose their businesses. I’m going to lose mine. That’s why I’m defying this and staying open. I’m not going to lose 25 years worth of business.”

This is a sentiment owners of The Original Escape Lounge understand all too well. Suzanne Moore says the two are fighting for everything they have built.

“Strip clubs are open, game rooms are open, massage parlors are open. That’s closer contact than I’ve ever had with a patron,” explained Moore. “Now we’re past the point of depression. We’re angry. And we want somebody, or something, to listen to us,” added Michael Durow.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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