ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – An Odessa bar owner has gained national attention for her defiance of Governor Abbott’s order to shut down bars for the second time.
“I have to defy this,” Gabrielle Ellison, owner and operator of Big Daddy Zane’s said.
Since 1996 Ellison and her family have owned Big Daddy Zane’s in Odessa, but these past few months have been a challenge for her business.
“This has had some true life consequences for me and my employees,” Ellison said. “You know we went to jail, I went to jail.”
During Governor Abbott’s first order to shut down bars, Ellison remained opened. She said shutting down her bar would have been a death sentence.
Now that Texas bars are being order to shut down again, Ellison said she’ll do no such thing.
“You’re saying this is a non-essential business, and we can’t serve,” Ellison said. “But the essential business is serving the same exact thing we’re serving, so it’s not making sense it’s trampling on a lot of injustice here.”
And Ellison is not alone. She has now joined more than thirty other Texas bar owners in suing Governor Abbott. Bar owners argue the Governor’s order violates their constitutional rights.
Even though Ellison is defying the Governor’s order to shut down, she says she is making sure her patrons are safe.
“There’s probably about fifty bottles of hand sanitizer because I think it’s important to keep your hands clean,” Ellison said. “We also everyday sanitize the whole place that means ceilings, walls, everything.”
And while COVID-19 is still present in West Texas, Ellison hopes local businesses owners will be free to operate how they want without government interference.
“Let us take control of our health let us take control of our businesses,” Ellison said. “Let us take care of our family, stop taking it away from us it’s got to stop.”
Ellison is encouraging other bar owners in West Texas to keep their doors open, but to also take precautions for their patrons.
A protest will also be held at Big Daddy Zane’s on July 4th.