'We’re going bankrupt’: Bar owners planning on holding rally in Austin Tuesday

A southwest Houston bar owner said he’s heading to the State Capitol in Austin to get answers.

AUSTIN, Texas – A southwest Houston bar owner said he’s heading to the State Capitol in Austin to get answers.

Jay Norman, owner of Biggles Lounge & Sports Café, said he has organized a rally at the state Capitol Tuesday.

“We want to be heard,” Norman said. “Restaurants that have bars in them – they’re open, they’re making money, but these small bars, they’re not allowed to be open. It’s not fair.”

Norman met with a few other Houston bar owners ahead of the rally. Medrea Dostalik, co-owner of Koozie’s was one of them.

“This is getting ridiculous,” Dostalik said. “It’s almost two months with no income and the bills are still coming in.”

Dostalik and her business partner, Dennis Mark, have been operating Koozie’s for thirty years.

“We’re going bankrupt,” Mark said. “All the mom and pop places going bankrupt.”

Mark and the others said they are frustrated that there has been no mention of when Texas bars will be permitted to reopen.

“We will follow the guidelines, we will do what we’re told,” Dostalik said. “Just give us a date, please!”

According to Norman, he’s reached out to Gov. Greg Abbott’s office multiple times with no response. He plans to get one on Tuesday.

“Gyms, salons, grocery stores, banks, everybody else is allowed to be open,” Norman said. “Sports bars and bars do not have a definite date, and there’s no reason for it.”

These small business owners said they can’t hold out much longer and neither can their employees. Beverly Strain, owner of Cozy Corner has 17 employees counting on her for a paycheck.

“We’re taking money out of our pockets that we are having to take from savings accounts, business accounts, or working another job to help our employees because they have been loyal to us, we have to be loyal to them,” Strain said. “We have to get open.”

According to Norman, the rally will take place Tuesday, May 12 outside the State Capitol in Austin at 9 a.m.