Bar owners sue city, claiming tiered recovery plan keeping them closed is ‘arbitrary’

Bar owners sue city, claiming tiered recovery plan keeping them closed is ‘arbitrary’
An Oahu bar closed amidst the pandemic. (Source: HNN File)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Bars and nightclubs on Oahu are still closed. And under Oahu’s tier system, it’s not clear when they’ll be able to reopen.

Bar owners fear the closures could last long into 2021. The “high-risk” businesses will be in the last round of businesses to open their doors.

The situation has prompted some bar owners to sue the city, claiming its tiered system for reopening is “arbitrary.”

“They’re begging for the opportunity to comply with restrictions,” said attorney James DiPasquale, who is representing the bar owners. “These bars, some of which have been around for 30 years, are forced to close, and they may not reopen.”

The plaintiffs include the owner of Irish Rose and Anna O’Briens, which have already closed permanently.

They’re arguing that its unfair that restaurants — and even a local Honolulu strip club — are allowed to open as long as they serve food. Many also sell alcohol as a part of their regular menu.

The tiered system requires Oahu’s seven-day average to fall below 20 cases for two weeks before the city will even consider letting bars open.

Hawaii News Now reached out to the Caldwell administration for comment on the lawsuit, but hasn’t yet heard back.

This story may be updated.

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