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St. Pete Bar Files Lawsuit Against DeSantis, Pinellas Commissioners to Reopen

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It’s been a long spring with no business for JWags Saloon in St. Petersburg. 


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With other businesses being allowed to open their doors to customers under strict social distancing guidelines, David Marshlack feels his bar and others are being singled out. 

“They opened up nail salons. They opened up hair places. They’ve opened up where the people are touching,” Marshlack said. “They’ve opened up gyms and restaurants are now at 50% capacity, but we as a bar, we can’t have any capacity? We can follow the same guidelines.” 

That’s why he filed a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis and Pinellas County Commissioners to re-open. Since JWags has been closed since March 17, owners say they’ve lost $200,000 in revenue and now they’re at the point of needing to open soon or consider closing for good.

“If you can go into a liquor store and you can shop for liquor and you can go in a restaurant and you can eat your food and drink your liquor and they’re allowed to serve liquor,” Marshlack continued, “Why can’t I have a bar that you can go in under the same guidelines and sit down and purchase liquor?” 

Neither the governor’s officer nor Pinellas County officials would comment on the lawsuit. Gov. DeSantis has indicated that bars could re-open under PHASE TWO of his plan, but there’s no word when that next phase would go into effect.

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