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Willow City bar owner seeks money to file suit over closures

January 13, 2021 GMT

WILLOW CITY, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota bar owner who says the state drove him out of business with COVID-19 restrictions is soliciting funds to file a federal civil rights complaint.

David Corum, who ran Gunslingers Bar in Willow City, said Tuesday he has been contacting bar owners about hosting fundraisers to mount a challenge against executive orders that hurt businesses.

“I definitely will appeal,” Corum said. “The issues are so hardcore constitutional.”

Northeast District Judge Anthony Benson ruled last week that Corum violated Gov. Doug Burgum’s March 19 executive order that kept customers out of bars and restaurants due to COVID-19. The Bottineau County Sheriff’s Office issued five separate citations against Corum’s bar. Corum told the court he had given up his liquor license and was conducting private events at which people donated toward alcohol expenses, the Minot Daily News reported.

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Mike Nowatzki, spokesman for the governor’s office, declined to comment.

Corum said any civil rights complaint would include an argument against similar executive orders in the future.

“I don’t think this is over. I think we are looking at the new normal, and it isn’t very pretty,” he said.

State health officials on Wednesday reported 227 new positive tests and two new deaths due to the coronavirus, raising the totals to 95,135 cases and 1,356 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.