Brian and Debbie Brindisi, Lakeside Diner owners of Lacey Township restaurant defy fines for allowing indoor dining amid the coronavirus cause it’s their constitutional right to remain open- despite public health crises.
A husband and wife owners of a New Jersey diner continue to defy state orders and local police denying indoor dining amid the coronavirus- even after police turned up to change the couple’s locks to their restaurant on Friday.
Brian and Debbie Brindisi, told NJ.com that they received a call from their alarm company on Friday morning around 4.30am notifying them that three doors at the Lakeside Diner had been broken into.
Upon arriving at the eaterie the couple found deputies from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, a locksmith and the Lacey Township police.
Debbie said they were in the process of changing the locks when Brian, managed to get inside.
By 7am, the Brindisis had opened their restaurant to diners eating inside and out.
Selfish & irresponsible?
According to NJ.com, the couple have opened their doors to indoor dining since June in order to stay financially afloat amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy indefinitely banned indoor dining in late June after seeing spikes in other states ‘driven by, in part, the return of indoor dining’.
As a result, businesses in the state have to rely on outdoor seating and delivery and to-go orders.
Debbie also shared images of the locksmith outside their restaurant, saying: ‘You would think that they wouldn’t because they’re trespassing. But I guess because it was an executive order from our wonderful governor. They didn’t want to do it. But they’re doing their jobs as well.’
State officials said that Friday’s incident marked the diner’s 10th citation since early June.
Two of those citations occurred last week.
Debbie said she and her husband believe that they are well within their constitutional rights to keep their restaurant operating financially.
‘As well as a need financially to pay our bills here, pay our bills at home, pay our employees, it’s also a constitutional right,’ she told NJ.com.
In a bid to ward off potential contractions the diner performs temperature checks at the door, offers a large container of hand sanitizer for patrons, while also keeping every other indoor table open to allow for social distancing.
Gov. Murphy continues to decry the couple as behaving irresponsibly & selfishly.
A GoFundMe page was also started to raise $1,000 that would go toward paying off the couple’s fines.
According to the page, which as of Sunday night raised $1580, the rest would go toward ‘a charity of their choice’.
New Jersey has reported more than 195,000 coronavirus cases and at least 16,049 deaths since the pandemic hit the state in mid-March.