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VA Judge Refuses to Close Restaurant That Defied Dem Gov's COVID Lockdown

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A restaurant in Fredericksburg, Virginia, will not be forced to close after it broke state coronavirus guidelines, which is a major victory for the small business.

A judge denied the state’s request that an injunction be issued against Gourmeltz 90’s Music Bar & Draft House, after the restaurant went against the state’s restrictions on dining, WUSA-TV reported.

Despite his food and liquor licenses being revoked by the state for not complying with Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 orders for dining (like wearing masks), restaurant owner Matt Strickland and his team are still serving customers.

“I’m not afraid of the state, I’m not afraid of the federal government,” Strickland told WUSA-TV.

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“I spent most of my adult life fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have no problem coming home and fighting here in Virginia.”

His lawyer argued that the restaurant has yet to have a case of coronavirus traced back to it, and Gourmeltz has raised over $13,000 in funds to assist with legal efforts.

“The state, the government, the president … They will never scare me into backing down. I will never kneel down and kiss that ring. I will fight as long as I’ve got to fight. I will fight as hard as I have to fight,” Strickland added.

Should Gourmeltz be shut down?

State guidelines mandate that employees wear masks at all times, and customers must wear a mask inside a restaurant, except when eating or drinking.

The restaurant industry has taken a significant hit since the beginning of the pandemic, so it is no surprise that places like Gourmeltz would not comply.

For health reasons, it is probably best for the restaurant to take some precautions, but it is ultimately up to customers whether or not they feel safe eating there.

Unlike typical health regulations for food service, masks and social distancing are things that can be visually seen by patrons.

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The beauty of the free market is that if a customer does not like how a business conducts itself, they have every right to not support the establishment.

The judge made the right decision to not issue a preliminary injunction, and he is set to make a final decision by the end of the week regarding the future of the restaurant.

As restaurants have slim profit margins, shutting down or making modifications is simply not an option for some, as that is their livelihood.

It is up to the court of public opinion to decide if Strickland’s actions are considerate, but it is up to the judge to determine the restaurant’s fate.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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