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Dozens of Arizona bar owners suing Governor Ducey over executive order keeping bars closed

Bar owners from Prescott to Phoenix to Tucson filed a lawsuit claiming that Executive Order keeping them closed isn't fair or constitutional.

PHOENIX — More than two dozen bar owners are suing Gov. Doug Ducey over his mandate that certain businesses remain closed through the end of the month to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The 26 bar owners from Prescott to Phoenix to Tucson filed a lawsuit claiming that Executive Order isn't fair or constitutional.

"They need to work," says Ilan Wurman. "They have bills to pay,"

Wurman is a law professor at Arizona State University. He also represents all the bar owners in the lawsuit.

At the end of June, Ducey issued a new Executive Order shutting down bars, theaters, water parks and gyms for 30 days. The mandate came amid of COVID-19 cases in Arizona, that's still on the rise. The Executive Order is set to expire at the end of July.

But Wurman argues it's an overreach, saying rules like that should be debated by the legislature, not mandated by the Governor.

Plus, he says bars should get a shot at implementing safety policies to stay open, like restaurants and stores.

"If one can social distance and require masks and have hygiene stations, everyone should be able to conform to those sanitary requirements," he explains.

They’re not the first to sue the Governor over this order. Mountainside Fitness took Ducey to court earlier this month claiming the order wasn’t fair to gyms.

In that case, a judge sided with the Governor and denied his request for a temporary restraining order as the suit continues.

Wurman says he thinks his lawsuit will have a better shot because he filed through state Supreme Court, rather than Federal Court.

"What we’re really trying to achieve here is to prevent the Governor from doing this again," he explains.

In a statement, a spokesman from Governor Ducey’s Office says:

We’re making reasonable and responsible decisions in the best interest of public health. We’re following the law and the constitution.

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