DENVER (KDVR) – A judge has ruled that Gov. Jared Polis’ 10 p.m. last call order will be allowed to continue.
The change was announced by Polis about a week ago, but was challenged by local restaurant organizations who claimed it had too big of an impact on their businesses.
Judge Brian Whitney heard arguments about the order starting Wednesday and issued the ruling around 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
It’s a big win for the governor, who implemented the rule because he and other state officials felt like late-night drinking created situations where inebriated were inclined to avoid social distancing.
The judge also left a requirement that limits seating capacity in place.
“Devastating” is how Blake Street Tavern owner Chris Fuselier described the loss.
“I have such a huge place. I have a 900 person capacity. We’re limited still to 100 people. There is no science or data that the state presented that make sense to us,” he said.
The Tavern League challenged the governors order on behalf of the hundreds of member restaurants.
Mark Berzins owns more than 20 bars, some with large numbers of workers.
“I feel terrible for my staff, especially my staff that are reliant on later evening business this is a catastrophe for them already. They’re already had their take home pay cut in half. They are going to have live it in the foreseeable future,” he said.
In the hearing, state health officials testified their data regarding adults between the ages of 20 and 29 years old was the best they had to try to keep the virus from spreading, admitting they were not sure if the measures would do the job, especially in bar settings.
The governor stood by his decision.
“Everybody knows inebriation is inconsistent with maintaining proper social distancing and being safe,” Polis said during a news conference updating COVID-19 efforts in Colorado.
In his ruling, the state district judge told the The Tavern League, “these are not normal times and this is what we have to live with.”
The League told FOX31 it is going to regroup to determine the next legal move.