North Texas Daily

Bar lives don’t matter

Bar lives don’t matter

Bar lives don’t matter
July 10
20:05 2020

Following Governor Greg Abbott’s order to close all drinking establishments starting June 26, Texas bar owners took to the streets and to the contracts to oppose the order.

Protesters rushed the capitol in Austin to demand to reopen carrying signs with appropriated language from the Black Lives Matter movement reading “Bar Lives Matter” As many as 21 bar owners suing Abbott for “[regulating] bar owners to the loser category and sentenced to bankruptcy.”

The opposition came about since salons, tattoo parlors and barbershops remained open. Lawyers stated, “Clearly, bar owners have less interaction, proximity or frequency with patrons than beauticians, or cosmetologists, or tattoo artists.”

Though masks are required to be worn at all times in those establishments, while in bars and restaurants they can be removed once seated. To state there are “losers and winners” in the face of a pandemic and not be referring to those infected or losing a battle to COVID-19 is unsettling.

Though these institutions face economic threats, they lack the distance needed to understand the bigger picture. Many bar owners feel they are “not the problem” and Abbott, being one individual, deciding who are threats to the community takes away their constitutional rights. It seems every week there is a new threat to people’s rights, all under the umbrella of public safety.

When the protests broke to social media, the most alarming factor was the ripped-off signage and language. Aside from the out of touch mindset required to understand the concern around drinking establishments and the threat they pose to a surging pandemic, the blatant ignorance displayed in using the Black Lives Matter slogan acted as though the threats upon black individuals were equal to those of bar owners, diminishes the purpose entirely.

It is anyone’s right to protest something they believe in. Bar owners and bar-goers believe the closures of their establishments have been chosen as a scapegoat for the state’s rise in newly confirmed coronavirus cases and that “it’s affecting the livelihood of thousands across the state.” While there are threats and financial crisis’ in sight, the question remains, why rip off another movement to amplify your voice?

In this, they were saying more than just that bars were being targeted, but also that the Black Lives Matter movement was not important enough to respect and let stand for what deep underlying factors it calls out. Both may establish the unequal treatments that single out bars and Black Americans, but let’s not pretend that’s the same thing.

The second round of closures came in response to the 38,000 cases confirmed in Texas during the week of June 23, ranking Texas fifth among U.S. highest confirmed coronavirus cases. In the same way, the masking protocol is to keep everyone’s well-being in mind, the same with closures in establishments statistically reported to being hotspots for the spread of the virus.

After four consistent months of coronavirus, the community is tired, in fear and impatient. Cooperating with ways to slow and end the virus has proven not easy, and left millions jobless, thousands infected or dead. But protesting the safety of an institution’s rights is in no way going to bring the entire problem to its end.

The way to keep your business safe and not closed for a significant amount of time is to attack the bigger issue, and that is to slow or stop the spread of infection. Dozens of countries were able to reopen business with a much quicker rebound due to the precautions the country took, that the citizens willingly followed. The U.S. is the only country to protest the safety precautions issued by the World Health Organization.

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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Lindsey Donovan

Lindsey Donovan

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