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Court says Houston strip club can reopen but without its dancers, clothed or not

ONYX is allowed to be open, but cannot have entertainers performing, "even if the entertainers are fully clothed."

HOUSTON — Editor's note: The videos in this article are from May 1, 2020.

A Houston strip club lost a legal battle with the city in an attempt to reopen under the guise of being a restaurant only, and not a sexually-oriented business.

Club ONYX's preliminary injunction motion against the city of Houston was denied by a federal judge on Friday, May 8.

Since Club ONYX generates less than 50% of its income from alcohol, it will be allowed to open, but "solely as a restaurant without additional entertainment," according to the court's ruling.

According to court documents, since GA 21 was issued on May 5, ONYX said it "ceased featuring 'nude' entertainment; the dancers are required to wear full tops and full bathing suit bottoms."

“Dancers at Onyx Houston were not offering lap dances but were merely providing entertainment from a safe distance,” court documents said.

Now, ONYX is allowed to be open, but cannot have entertainers performing, "even if the entertainers are fully clothed," the court order said.

On May 1, Club ONYX was granted a temporary restraining order against the city of Houston by a federal judge, allowing the gentlemen's club to resume operations.

The court said that ONYX "failed to add the State as a party to this action to address the First Amendment and equal protection issues raised by the Governor’s orders."

In the injunction, ONYX claimed that the city was responsible for violating its right to expression under the First Amendment. The court ruled that the claim was misplaced.

The court said the claim "relates to the orders of the Governor and not the actions the City of Houston. The City of Houston is only responsible for lawfully enforcing the Governor’s order."

RELATED: Houston strip club wins fight to reopen as restaurant

RELATED: Adult club owner says he's not giving up after Houston police shut him down Friday morning

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