Tallahassee bar owner sues DBPR in attempt to reopen

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 9:08 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The owner of a small Tallahassee bar says she feels her voice isn’t being heard after her business was closed for months on end. Just One More bar owner Julie Rodolpher and her lawyer are suing the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the state in an attempt to reopen her small business.

Rodolpher told WCTV she has been closed for longer than she has been open in 2020. She says she just wants to have her business up and running again.

“I went through all my savings. I had to start pulling from my retirement,” said Rodolpher. “You can’t expect a business like that to go on forever and ever and ever.”

After the first time bars and clubs shut down across Florida, Rodolpher said she followed every precaution the state mandated and even passed her inspection. Despite this, she says she was still told to shut down a second time.

“To follow every rule and then pass my inspections, and then the next day ‘Oh, you’re closed again,’ there’s nothing fair about that whatsoever,” said Rodolpher.

Amidst the shut down, DBPR secretary Halsey Beshears made rounds to different counties across the state talking to bar owners about how they could re-open safely.

Rodolpher said she wasn’t invited to the meeting in Leon County.

“To not even be included in that meeting, not even be invited to go and voice my opinion, that’s not fair,” explained Rodolpher. “So what bars were there?”

DBPR responded to this with a statement, saying in part that the meetings with bars are intended to provide a forum for secretary Beshears to listen to the ideas and concerns of licensed business owners while considering opportunities to reopen.

The statement goes on to ask those with concerns to contact secretary Beshears directly.

Attorney Travis Walker, who is representing Rodolpher along with 70 other small businesses in a suit against the DBPR and the state, says that these small businesses need to be accommodated for after the lengthy closures.

“We do strongly believe that the state of Florida did wrong by the small business owners and they’re entitled to compensation and they’re entitled to reopen again,” said Walker.

Rodolpher says she’s just hoping she can get back to business before it’s too late.

“I just don’t know how long people think we can keep going month after month, after month and survive,” exclaimed Rodolpher.

Walker says he has filed an emergency injunction for a hearing scheduled for the last week of August.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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