Image: Bokeeters’ owners Sandra Young stood up to Texas Alcoholic and Beverage Commission officer, Major Mike Lennox, on August 11, 2020, at Bokeeters, 18110 Highway US 59, New Caney.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
New Caney and Austin, August 17 – “I’m not closing unless Jesus has his Second Coming,” Bokeeters pub owner Sandra Young of New Caney told The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, yesterday during an exclusive interview. In reference to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s bizarre shutdown order, GA-28, also known as the “Bar Czar Order,” Young said, “We complied with the first shutdown. It seems like everybody is afraid. Most bar owners want to open right now but they’re afraid to. I’m sacrificing myself and testing the waters.”
Young has become a statewide leader among bar and tavern owners who are standing up against Abbott’s unconstitutional mandate, which has very little, if any, force of law. “It’s not a law, because a law goes through the House and the Senate, and then it’s signed into law. That hasn’t happened. He hasn’t even addressed us. I believe he just wants us to go away.”
Young has led some of the statewide protests in Austin, including one which she attended this past Friday, August 14, in front of the Governor’s Mansion. “I’ve been to every protest in Austin.”
Young, who has for 11 years owned Bokeeters at 18110 Highway US 59 in New Caney, right across from Roman Forest, told this newspaper, “TABC doesn’t know the order. They don’t know how to enforce the order. I am opening. I have absolutely zero intention of closing. You wouldn’t believe the fear because nobody is.”
Young is selling art in her bar. “My drinks are free, which complies with the mandate, which is illegal. When you come in, you buy art and we drink for free. Most people are not taking the art home,” Young explained.
Bokeeters is open full hours, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day except Sunday, when the bar is open from noon to 2 a.m.
Young had a confrontation five days ago with officers, including Major Mike Lennox, of the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission. The video of the confrontation, during which Young made clear she refused to close, has had more than 70,000 views on social media. Young told the officers who brought Bokeeters and Young a copy of Abbott’s executive order, “I’m not closing. Tomorrow I’ll be here….It doesn’t say bars have to be closed. It says ‘persons shall avoid’. I’m not closing. Tomorrow, I’ll be here.”
Young noted that she realizes the Chinese Coronavirus is a real virus, but she also added, “you have a 99.08% chance of surviving it.”
The New Caney barkeep has a theory about what’s going on with the Coronavirus panic. “The numbers of coronavirus and of deaths from it are completely wrong, per Channel 11. I believe this is an attempted political assassination without a bullet. If it was any other year and any other president, we wouldn’t see this going on. The Democrats are fear mongering, because they hate our president more than they love this country.”
“The numbers of coronavirus and of deaths from it are completely wrong, per Channel 11. I believe this is an attempted political assassination without a bullet. If it was any other year and any other president, we wouldn’t see this going on. The Democrats are fear mongering, because they hate our president more than they love this country.” – – Sandra Young, Owners Bokeeters pub in New Caney.
Young also noted that keeping her establishment open has an important positive mental health impact on her customers. She told this newspaper of an elderly gentleman who came to Bokeeters this past Thursday and told Young, “‘Darling, I want to thank you for being open. I drove 20 miles to get here, and I’ve been sitting in my house alone for weeks.'” Young added, “I don’t think Abbott is giving any thought to the people who come into our establishments and they’re the same people and sit in the same chairs. They need a place to go and they need human contact and company. It’s a mental health issue.”
Young noted that many bars are applying for changes to their licenses to reflect that they sell more food than alcohol. Young explained that the problem will arise when those establishments have those amended licenses after the Chinese Coronavirus panic. “TABC will level stiff fines against those establishments.”
Of her employees, Young said, “My employees needed work. Many of them have bills to pay that they must cover for other family members who have also lost their jobs.”
The TABC officer who appeared in the video with Young told her, “I’m not here to argue with you. I’m just delivering paperwork.” Young refused to sign the papers. On the video she said, “I’m not closing. You can just take me to jail or whatever y’all are going to do. I’m not closing…It does not say bars have to close. When y’all get sued, you’re going to say you were enforcing a government mandate, but Greg Abbott will say he didn’t say bars had to close…Y’all are making fools out of yourselves. Y’all don’t have to do this. You know you don’t have to do this…Am I arrestable? Is it arrestable?”
In respnse, the officers shook their heads “no.” “It’s not arrestable today, nope, ma’am,” Major Lennox added in the video.
Young organized a meeting on August 1 in New Caney to discuss these issues among the bar owners in the region. Afterwards she made the following post on social media:
“I wanna thank the owners of Koozie’s, Sammy J’s, Stetsons Nightlife, 510 Bar, Soggy Bottom Saloon, Six Springs Tavern, Boot-n-Saddle, Swingin’ Doors, Lazy H, Chuters, The Rail Club Live, Tik’s Tavern, Alamo Bar & Grill, Shane’s Saloon, Sangood Bar, The Deer Lease, Shifter’s Roadhouse, Nico’s, This Bar, Nut Bar and Kat Daddy’s for attend our meeting yesterday. I was a real pleasure meeting everyone and talking with folks who are suffering alike on this torturous journey we are currently being forced to travel. I gotta say, I was happy to hear the determination and passion in everyone i spoke with. I was also very happy to hear we are generally on the same page. After much thought and research, I have made the decision to open my establishment tomorrow morning…and see what happens. I figure, somebody’s gotta take the leap and I can’t live in fear any longer. I found my inspiration from each one of you yesterday another special person today…Y’all lit a fire under my ass to do the right thing and say no to this unconstitutional trampling of our freedom. This is NOT the America I grew up in but, I am bound an determined to get us back to normal one day at a a time. And it starts right here. I’m taking back my livelihood and I wholeheartedly believe we should set our fears aside and stand as an industry. Thanks again to everyone who came out!! Thanks for taking excellent care of my staff!! I hope everyone enjoyed themselves aa much as i did!! I wish i would’ve taken pictures!! 😪 We will win this war if we stand united!!!”