Mike Coughlin, owner for 26 years of the Village Tavern and Grill in Carol Stream, Illinois, says he refuses to shut his doors despite Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker's order closing indoor dining amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the time of this reporting, researchers at Johns Hopkins University estimate that there have been at least 726,304 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state, with at least 12,985 deaths attributed to the deadly virus.
What are the details?
In a Tuesday morning interview with Fox News, Coughlin said that if he closes his business, he'll never reopen its doors.
"I didn't have a choice [but to keep my doors open]," he explained. "For me it was if I close again ... I won't be able to reopen at all. It was a simple choice for me. Eight and a half months ago we were asked to close down for two weeks to help stop the curve, and here we are eight and a half months later ... asked to close down again."
Coughlin said that the request to close down again is unreasonable — especially in light of the money he spent on modifications to comply with state mandates regarding the mitigation of the virus.
"We've spent thousands of dollars on plexiglas, on sanitizing stations, on putting tents out in the parking lot, air purification systems in the restaurant, and still we're asked to close," he said. "I've got employees that are counting on me to stay open ... single moms that need this job."
He said that he isn't the only business owner in the area making the decision to remain open despite the governor's orders.
"To me it was a no-brainer," Coughlin said. "I'm not the only one out here. Most of us are staying open out in this area. We have to. We just can't survive by closing our doors. Trying to survive on 25 percent is crazy as well."
"If we don't stay open, we can't ever reopen," he insisted.
According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Coughlin also recently said, "You pay my bills, you pay my taxes, you pay my employees, and I'll close. I'm not going to be the guy with a boarded-up building because I follow someone else's science."
Coughlin recently told the Chicago Tribune that his personal attorney advised him that the governor has no authority to shut down indoor dining.
"We've complied with everything they've asked us to do — spent thousands on plexiglass and sanitizer and masks," Coughlin said.
"Of course it was a hard decision, absolutely," Coughlin added. "But the way I look at it, if I close down, I have nothing. If I stay open, there's less risk. What can they do?"