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Group of bar owners sue Oklahoma City over new restriction

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A group of bar owners is suing Oklahoma City over Mayor Holt's emergency proclamation requiring bars and restaurants to stop in-person service at 11 p.m.

The mayor says the city will enforce Governor Stitt's executive order from last week.

“They’ll respond to 911 calls to bars and restaurants that are operating openly and indoors after 11 pm," said Holt in a press conference last week when asked about enforcement.

According to the city's municipal code, someone who breaks the rule could face up to a $750 fine or six months in jail.

Some bar owners say that's putting them out of business.

“That block of hours is important for our survival," said Steve Brack, the owner of the Wester Nights Honkey Tonk.

He's one of the bar owners filing a lawsuit to stop the city from enforcing the rule.

“It shows me that there’s a disconnect in the knowledge of how our business and our industry operates in the State of Oklahoma," Brack said.

Brack says he's been closing at 11 p.m. since the rule went into effect, but that has meant canceling all of his live music.

His lawyer, representing seven plaintiffs in the lawsuit, claims the city doesn't have the authority to enforce the rule.

“You’re taking the prime time for these businesses away from them, so what are they going to open just for a few hours then shut down?" asked attorney Frank Urbanic.

Urbanic also claims the rule violates the 14th amendment, saying bars a being forced to close early while other businesses can stay open.

The case has been moved to federal court.

Urbanic hopes to have a hearing Wednesday.

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The City of Oklahoma City did not comment to Fox 25 on the pending lawsuit.

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