Wichita Bar Owners Sue Over COVID-19 Rules

Bar owners in Wichita are challenging rules designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, hoping to use the courts to overturn a mask mandate, limits on public gatherings, and an 11 p.m. closing time for bars and restaurants.

The lawsuit is partially crowd-funded by “Unmask the Truths,” a Facebook and web-based group of mask opponents.

It was first filed in state district court in late November, but attorneys for both sides had it moved to federal court this month because the lawsuit alleges that pandemic rules violate the business owners’ rights to free speech and due legal process under the U.S. Constitution.

The lawsuit was filed by 10 businesses, their owners, and two other Sedgwick County residents who allege that their rights as citizens are violated.

If the bar owners and others suing officials are successful, they would take the county back to business as it was before the coronavirus pandemic reached Kansas in early March, The Wichita Eagle reports.