An Act of Desperation and Defiance

When the state has the authority to require you to have a license to do business, and to inspect your premises, you become subservient to the state. I suppose that the only truly libertarian businesses are bootleggers and drug dealers.

When Governor Andy Beshear (D-KY) ordered all commercial inside dining suspended for three weeks, Andrew Cooperrider of Lexington was at the end of his rope, and refused to comply, so naturally the government had to stomp down on him. From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Lexington coffee shop ordered closed by health department, refuses to stop serving

By Janet Patton | November 24, 2020 | 3:36 PM EST | Updated 4:23 PM EST

The Lexington health department on Tuesday ordered a Lexington coffee shop to close after the owner refused to halt dining inside, defying statewide COVID restrictions.

Last week, Gov. Andy Beshear announced new restrictions on restaurants and bars as well as other steps designed to stem the surge in coronavirus cases in Kentucky, saying that the state’s health care system is in danger of being overrun.

Restaurants were ordered to close dining rooms for three weeks, but outside seating in an approved tent was allowed to continue. However the tent must have no more than 50 percent of the perimeter enclosed to qualify.

Brewed at 124 Malabu Dr. was ordered closed and the establishment’s food service permit was suspended but owner Andrew Cooperrider said he plans on operating normally.

Cooperrider said that they were operating with a garage door opened 6 to 12 inches but the inspector said that would not meet the state emergency order requirements for a heated patio.

If you visit Brewed’s Facebook page, you can see plenty of comments. A commenter calling himself Phil Hunt wrote:

You think you are big Patriot….nope you’re just a selfish moron.

With ‘patriots’ like Mr Hunt, our national anthem would still be God Save the Queen.

People who believe that Governor Beshear’s ‘order’ is warranted and ought to be obeyed certainly have the option of not patronizing Mr Cooperrider’s restaurant.

The inspector cited the restaurant for having customers with no masks on and said they had to close. A supervisor called to the scene agreed.

“While on site for a routine health inspection at the establishment, we observed that the establishment was continuing to allow in-person dining,” according to a statement by Kevin Hall, Lexington-Fayette County Health Department spokesman. “The establishment manager was served an enforcement notice requiring that in-person seating be discontinued, which was refused. We then served an enforcement notice to suspend their food permit for not following the executive order guidance.”

“While on site for a routine health inspection”? What, I have to ask, are the probabilities that the Health Department inspectors just happened to be there, out of thousands of restaurants in Lexington? Not as probable, I would guess, than some Gladys Kravitz snitched on the place.

This is Mr Cooperrider’s problem: restaurants are required, by law, to have food service permits. These are issued to insure that the facility keeps its service and preparation areas clean and free of insects, is using safe preparation methods and safe ingredients. In this particular instance, the food service permit requirement has nothing to do with any of that, but is being used as a cudgel to enforce the Governor’s political policies.

Mr Cooperrider stated on his Facebook page that the Health Department inspectors would not answer his question as to what would happen to him if he refused to close, and stated that, until he was hauled out in handcuffs, he would continue to open for business.

Someone called the cops; the Herald-Leader article does not say who did that. But the Lexington Police Department was having nothing to do with the situation, Brenna Angel, the LPD spokeswoman, said:

The police department was contacted regarding the situation between Brewed and the Health Department, however, this involved a civil/regulatory matter and not something police could take action on.

Good for them! But I wonder: will Governor Beshear, who had the State Police record license numbers of cars in church parking lots on Easter Sunday, Easter Sunday!, to order churchgoers who violated his church closure orders, something the federal courts later enjoined, into two weeks of self-quarantine, send the apparently-more-compliant state troopers to haul Mr Cooperrider off in handcuffs?

Mr Cooperrider said:

I would like the end result to be that we stop having arbitrariness to it. … Put us in a position where we can succeed. Back in January I was a millionaire. Now I’m on food stamps.

I understand about us dying but I care about us living.

Mr Cooperrider’s restaurant is not the only one in the Bluegrass State which has defied the Governor’s orders, but being in the Commonwealth’s second largest city, one governed by Democrats, has put more of a bullseye on his back. I fear that his act of civil disobedience, one which I fully support, will not end well for him. I do not live in Lexington, and get there only infrequently, but the next time I do go there — other than for Thanksgiving, at my daughter’s house, when his restaurant will be closed — I will stop by and buy some coffee.

If it’s still open, that is. At least right now, it is; at 10:23 AM I called the phone number listed on Brewed’s Facebook page, and the call was answered, and the gentleman on the other end said that yes, they were still open.
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