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EL PASO, Texas – Organizers in El Paso, Texas, opened a keg of beer with a sledgehammer and let it pour onto the street because bar owners could not legally sell it.

Bars were shut down last month by Gov. Greg Abbott after a surge in coronavirus cases in the state following one America’s fastest reopenings.

“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” Abbott said.

Protesters reacted to the closure in El Paso during the Fourth of July weekend by dumping beer into the city streets.

“Tax-free beer running down the street, just like in the old days when they did the tea party when they threw tax-free tea into the harbor,” said Frank Ricci Jr., the owner of Rockin’ Cigar Bar told KTSM.

The closures of bars began just days after Abbott described shutting down business as a last resort and reflect how urgently Texas is scrambling to contain what is now one of the nation’s biggest hot spots.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.