Many Americans were recently shocked to see video footage of police raiding a Virginia business owner last week over his having violated COVID restrictions back in 2021.
According to WUSA9, the video was recorded as the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) executed a search warrant this past Friday on a restaurant called Gourmeltz.
This man .@MattForVA kept his business open during Covid and ignored the mandates, so the state suspended his licenses and just raided his business. pic.twitter.com/OWeHyI8dTQ
— Hodgetwins (@hodgetwins) December 5, 2022
Strickland didn’t follow suspension rules
It stated that the officers were tasked with seizing sales records along with any information related to the “possession of alcoholic beverages without a license, maintaining a common nuisance and the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages.”
Restaurant owner Matt Strickland had his license to sell alcoholic beverages suspended in September of last year but the suspension was put on hold while he appealed the matter.
WUSA9 reported that Strickland lost his appeal last month and was ordered to halt all alcohol sales for 90 days. He was also allowed to shut down for 15 days provided he paid a $4,000 fine along with $6,400 worth of investigation costs.
However, a press release from the Virginia ABC alleges that Stickland did neither and instead chose to operate his business illegally.
“Despite administrative proceedings and the final order of the Circuit Court of Spotsylvania County affirming Virginia ABC’s decision to suspend Gourmeltz’s wine/beer on and off-premises and mixed beverage licenses, the establishment failed to comply with ABC’s Board Order and continued to serve beer, wine and mixed beverages to customers,” the press release read.
Restaurant owner: COVID rules “just made no sense”
Strickland was interviewed by Just the News in 2021, telling the website, “We followed all the governor’s mandates when the COVID stuff first happened because I didn’t know what COVID was about just like anybody else.”
However, the Army veteran quickly “were about something else other than our health and safety” because “they just made no sense.”
“Nobody could sit at a bar, but you could put a table up next to the bar and sit,” he explained. “You had to wear a mask just to walk in but when you sit down, you can take it off.
“[The] regulations made no common sense,” Strickland reiterated, adding that the state was “starting to strip away the constitutional rights and freedoms of myself and my customers,” he said. “And I wasn’t going to be part of that.”
“I allowed my customers to make their own decisions as far as if they’re comfortable wearing a mask or not comfortable sitting at a bar or not,” Strickland recalled.
The business owner concluded by insisting that he would continue “to fight for our rights and our freedoms as long as we have to.”