Diary

Fighting to the End: Kentucky Coffeeshop Owner Defies Andy Beshear's Orders

I have previously noted the defiance of Andrew Cooperrider to the draconian orders of Governor Andy Beshear (D-KY) closing down all inside commercial dining for three weeks. The Lexington/Fayette County Health Department went to court to try to force Mr Cooperrider to close his coffee shop, after Mr Cooperrider refused to close his shop despite Health Department orders. The Health Department requested that the Lexington Police Department be allowed to enforce their orders.

Judge’s order to close hasn’t stopped a defiant Lexington coffee shop yet. Here’s why

By Jeremy Chisenhall | December 2, 2020 | 12:15 PM EST | Updated: 1:20 PM EST

The battle between a defiant Lexington coffee shop and the Lexington health department continued on Wednesday as the shop continued to serve — and got business from Lexington police officers in uniform.

Brewed, a coffee shop that opened in Lexington during the pandemic, defied Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order to shut down indoor dining at restaurants and bars. Beshear said the order was issued in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Kentucky.

Brewed was ordered to close by a Fayette circuit judge Tuesday after a several-day battle of ignored closure orders from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and a lawsuit seeking an injunction.

But the judge’s order didn’t take effect until the health department paid a $5,000 bond. Once the bond has been paid, Brewed has to be served with the order. So Brewed wasn’t violating the judge’s order yet when it opened for business Wednesday morning.

Some snitched called the Lexington Police on Brewed, but the LPD, after discussions with the Health Department, determined that it was a civil rather than criminal manner, and could not take action. Mr Cooperrider responded by offering ‘first responders’ a 50% discount, and, according to WKYT-TV:

Judge (Thomas) Travis did not make a decision on whether or not police needed to enforce his ruling, and already Wednesday morning we’ve seen two uniformed Lexington Police officers get their coffee at Brewed, as well as a Fayette County Public Schools officer.

Of course, while the rank and file might support Mr Cooperrider’s right to remain open, the bosses might just be viewing that poorly:

“Lexington police expects all personnel to be aware of their actions, particularly while in uniform, and how those actions reflect on the department as a whole,” (LPD spokeswoman Brenna Angel) said. “Reports have been made that two officers were seen patronizing Brewed Wednesday morning. We will address this report with any officers involved.”

While I’d like to read a report stating that all 633 sworn officers and 150 civilian personnel went to patronize Brewed, I’m sure that won’t happen. Fayette County is one of only two counties carried by Joe Biden in the election, but he did so by a wide margin, 90,600 (59.25%) to 58,860 (38.50%), and the county voted 73,397 (65.51%) to 36,915 (32.95%) for Mr Beshear in the 2019 gubernatorial race, so one might guess that a significant number of LPD officers are Democrats. 🙁

It’s difficult to see how Mr Cooperrider wins this in the end, but he’s still alive and still fighting.
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Update: December 3, 2020:

Sadly, the end of Mr Cooperrider’s defiance has come. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that “A Lexington coffee shop that has repeatedly and publicly defied health department instructions related to COVID-19 restrictions will now follow a judge’s order to cease food and beverage services.”

I did say that it would be difficult to see how Mr Cooperrider could win in the end.
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