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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against WV Governor for Closing Monongalia County Bars

October 28th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

A federal judge has ruled in favor of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice in a lawsuit over his decision to close bars and nightclubs in Monongalia County earlier this year due to the spread of the coronavirus.

The owners of 12 establishments filed suit last month after they were ordered to close, following the disclosure of pictures posted online showing college students in Morgantown bars without masks. However, U.S. District Judge John Bailey denied a motion for injunctive relief on behalf of the businesses, saying the “right to do business” has not been recognized as constitutionally protected and the claims “ignore the grave nature of why the Governor issued a state of emergency.”

“There is no public interest in attending bars when we are dealing with a pandemic, especially in counties experiencing surges of new COVID-19 cases,” Bailey said. “Doing so will only increase the spread of COVID-19, endangering not only the bar attendees but also their families and friends and the health care institutions in Morgantown which have to take care of the virus’ victims.”