Amid new coronavirus shutdown orders for the state of Pennsylvania, Fenicci’s of Hershey restaurant is planning to defy a new ban on indoor dining to keep his business from going under and to protect the livelihoods of his employees.
Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday announced a wide-ranging ban on activities that includes canceling school sports and extracurricular activities, closing casinos, gyms, and other entertainment establishments, and shutting down indoor dining. The new restrictions begin on Dec. 12 and will be in effect through Jan. 4, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
But Fenicci’s will remain open, according to owner Phil Guarno.
In an interview with WHP-TV, Guarno said that after the governor’s office dismissed word of an indoor dining ban as rumor, it then turned around and imposed it after restaurant’s such as Guarno’s had purchased their food.
“We’re not accepting it,” he said.
“I have $10,000 worth of food here; I have a staff of 50 employees,” he said. “They have to get Christmas presents for their kids.”
“The governor needs to operate like any other business. He needs to start realizing that he’s affecting people’s lives,” Guarno said. “He needs to give people notice.”
He said he would have understood if the governor’s office had reached out with a heads-up about what might be coming.
“Coming out and saying you’re closing 24 hours later — it’s not flying anymore, Tom. It’s just not flying. You’re destroying people’s lives, people’s livelihoods. You’re targeting our industry,” he said.
Guarno said closings should spread the pain equally instead of allowing shoppers to congregate in retail stores but not dine inside restaurants.
“You’re not targeting my industry anymore, We’re standing up to you. Now is the time for restaurants across the Commonwealth to revolt, to save your livelihood, to save your employees’ livelihoods, especially before Christmas. It’s a terrible situation,” he said.
“I never wanted to be put in it, but Tom put me in it,” he said, adding that Wolf is “not my governor.”
Guarno said that Wolf’s ban does not eliminate gatherings, it simply moves them from restaurants into the homes of people who otherwise would be his patrons.
“There comes a point as an American citizen that you have to stand up for your rights and stand up for your civil liberties. There comes a point where I’m willing to sacrifice my own name for my employees and for the rest of the community and other restaurants. It’s just got to stop,” he said.
Guarno added that “if I have to prove my point by being taken out in handcuffs, then so be it,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
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Although he said he “respects the virus,” he believes the new edicts are “a gross infringement on our freedoms.”
“The first time, everybody was OK with it because the [Paycheck Protection Program] money was there and it all started like ‘flatten the curve for two weeks,’” he said. “I’m not one to really do civil disobedience, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s really do or die. It’s time to stand up against this tyranny.”
David Deimler, who owns Babe’s Grill House in Palmyra, will also defy the indoor dining ban.
“I don’t like being in the limelight. This is way too political for me,” he said. “I honestly felt it was a moral dilemma. If I close, I am doing more harm to the people who take care of me and my family and my kids … This is not about me. This is about my team,” he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.