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  • Writer's picturePeter Serefine

Gubernatorial Restaurant Closures

Business closures due to coronavirus need to stop. Many of us have pledged to support any business that remains open against Governor Wolf's orders. The following are some of the stories about heroic businesses willing to risk their licenses and stand up for all of our rights.

Here in Pennsylvania, our lockdowns began on March 15th, 2020. Like most people, I believed the two-weeks to flatten the curve seemed reasonable. This was a new virus and it appeared to have a high mortality rate. If two weeks of boredom and discomfort would save thousands of lives while hospitals prepared, so be it. Obviously, the two-week lockdown was extended. That is when many people started to remember the fifth amendment to the US Constitution, no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”.

About six weeks later, in early May, my beautiful wife and I pledged to support any business within driving distance that chose to defy the Governor’s continued lockdown orders. Shortly after that pledge, we were returning home from a ReOpen Pennsylvania rally in Harrisburg when we passed a tattoo shop that looked open. We turned around and went back to the shop. It was indeed open, but only for appointments. I explained my pledge to the store owner who said, “come back in forty-five minutes.” When we returned I got a great new tattoo at a great price. Between my wife and I, we have returned to that shop for three more tattoos, even though it is a little out of the way for us.

Governor Wolf has continued to extend these lockdown orders. This dictatorial lockdown began over nine months ago. Businesses have been allowed to open with limited capacities just to be shuttered again a short time later. Business owners have invested large sums of money to comply with virtue-signaling reopening requirements. There have been easings and tightening over the past several months like a yo-yo on a short string.

The most recent gubernatorial restaurant closure has struck a nerve. On December 10th, 2020 Wolf ordered all indoor dining in Pennsylvania closed. Immediately some frustrated restaurants spoke up and said they would not close. New Facebook groups popped up and began compiling lists of restaurants defying the order. Restaurant owners took to social media and were interviewed for the local news.

Once again, my beautiful wife and I were among the first to offer our support. We found the first restaurant in our area still open and went out to eat. The small coffee shop and cafe was quite busy when we arrived. Diners included couples, families, and one large party obviously from multiple households. All of the staff were wearing masks and we were asked to look at the menu from our phones. Other than the electronic menus, it was pretty much business as usual.

The second restaurant we visited since the last order is a restaurant that we don’t particularly care for, but they are open and we pledged our support. Again, the staff was all wearing masks. Again, the restaurant was pretty busy. The one thing remarkable about our visit was a conversation overheard from other diners. I was proud to hear the people at the nearest table discussing the US Constitution, and even referencing the fifth amendment. If there is one good thing that has come from coronavirus it might just be the number of people discussing the US Constitution again.

Our most recent visit to a restaurant defying the draconian lockdown was also very refreshing. It was a small place operating like it is 2019 B.C. (before coronavirus). As far as we could tell they hadn’t changed anything. It felt like we had stepped back in time and it felt great.

Businesses must be given the opportunity to survive. Our governor has done almost everything within the power he assumed for himself to kill small business. He has refused to work with the legislature of the commonwealth on a plan to reopen. He and Dr. Richard/Rachel Levine make all of the decisions with little to no explanation to the general assembly or to the people of Pennsylvania.

Business owners bend this way and that in an attempt to comply with the whims of the current administration. Owners have lost sales, adapted, and spent money on compliance, just to be forced to close again. The American spirit demands freedom of choice. Owners must be allowed to choose if they want to be open and citizens must be allowed to choose what businesses to patronize. Businesses and individuals alike choose the level of risk they are willing to assume. Risk assessment is something that everyone does every day with every decision we make.

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