On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul and some of his Republican colleagues showed up at a Washington, D.C., restaurant to support the business, which had been shut down for defying local COVID-19 vaccination and masking mandates.
The restaurant was given a shutdown notice by the city just hours before the protest.
Paul and sone of his staff members ate burgers at The Big Board restaurant, where the owners had been refusing to comply with the city’s local COVID mandates.
Washington, DC officials had already fined Big Board for not requiring staff to wear masks. The restaurant even had its liquor license suspended.
Just one hour before Paul arrived, the city’s health department put a closure notice on the business’s front door.
Paul told the Washington Examiner regarding Big Board co-owner Eric Flannery, “It’s a big decision — civil resistance, civil disobedience — when you lose your livelihood. So I’m incredibly proud of him.”
Paul has introduced legislation that would bar Washington, D.C. from implementing such mandates.
Republican Rep. Thomas Massie, fellow Kentuckian with Paul, was also at the restaurant for the protest and said that if more business owners would resist the mandates “it’d be unenforceable.”
“I would encourage more people to do it,” Massie said. “Each person, I think, needs to push back to the ability of their means, and not everybody can afford to lose their job over this.”
Owner Flannery said, with tears in his eyes as he addressed his staff and reporters, “When people asked me, ‘What are you going to get on the other side of this?’ I don’t know.”
“I just know that I’m doing the right thing,” Flannery added.
“I decided that this bar was going to be what it is, which is a place where everybody is welcome,” Flannery said. “My servers, they are not less or people that need to be masked. They don’t carry disease. They wash their hands. They’re clean. They follow the health guidance.”
Other members of Congress in attendance to support Big Board included Reps. Tim Burchett, Victoria Spartz, Kevin Hern, and Ronny Jackson.
The bar was packed with patrons for one last night at Big Board on Tuesday, but what comes next remains unsure. Stay tuned.
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