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"A bar with food or restaurant with liquor are the same things."

Very little is known about the behavior of the coronavirus, but ask Tucson bar owner Darel Harrison and he'll tell you he thinks he knows one thing about it.
Posted at 11:51 AM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 14:51:05-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Very little is known about the behavior of the coronavirus, but ask Tucson bar owner Darel Harrison and he'll tell you he thinks he knows one thing about it.

"I don't believe the virus understands if you're having a beer and some nachos or if you're having tacos and a soda."

He's owned 'the Music Box Lounge' for 18 years.

He said he's done his part to curb the spread of COVID-19.

"We were asked to close for two weeks to help lower the spread of COVID but two weeks turned into seven weeks."

That length of time has meant lost revenue, fewer jobs, Harrison said.

"We still have to pay rent and we still have to pay our liquor licensing fees."

His issue, he said, is the liquor license he carries.

He said series 6 and 7 bars have had to remain closed while series 12 bars can remain open.

"I can go into numerous local bars and see my customers."

The State's Department of Liquor identifies series 12 bars as those that make 40-percent or more of revenue from food.

Harrison said that's a health risk not considered by state officials.

"You cram more people into the same establishments so you now have less places open serving people."

He said he found out on Thursday he's been denied to reopen his bar.

Fearful for the future of his business, he says there doesn't appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

"If you told me I'm shutting down for two weeks I would do certain things. If you tell me I'm shutting down for two months well I'm going to unplug everything and get rid of the beer and clean up. If you tell me I'm shut down for two years then I'm selling my building and moving on with my life."

Harrison said he's not looking for government help.

"The amount of money that we were generating is not made up for for the small things that they've thrown at us."

He says he just wants a chance to have his business back and do it safely.

"A bar with food or restaurant with liquor are the same things."

Harrison said he plans to file a lawsuit against Governor Ducey's order.