OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Bars and restaurants across Oklahoma will be able to stay open past Gov. Kevin Stitt’s ordered 11 p.m. curfew while a lawsuit brought by a group of bar owners is litigated.
An Oklahoma County judge was expected to hear arguments in the case on Wednesday, but that hearing has been delayed until Jan. 8. Until then, a temporary restraining order issued earlier this month will remain in effect that prevents the state from enforcing the curfew.
District Judge Susan Stallings’ order technically applies only to the bars and restaurants that are plaintiffs in the case, but the attorney for Oklahoma’s Alcoholic Beverage Laws Commission, Steven Barker, says the agency won’t enforce the curfew while the order is in effect.
The governor announced the 11 p.m. curfew and a requirement that bars and restaurants space tables at least six feet apart in November amid a surge in the number of coronavirus cases.
A group of bars and restaurants, including Oklahoma City’s Redneck Yacht Club, filed a lawsuit earlier this month to prevent enforcement of the curfew, arguing the governor doesn’t have the legal authority to impose one.
“While public safety is paramount, the Oklahoma Constitution and Oklahoma law must still be honored,” attorney Frank Urbanic wrote in his motion for a restraining order. “A virus does not give the governor the power to institute any law he wants by fiat.”