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Maine retaliates against restaurant owner who reopened despite state lockdown


'We've had enough of it'

Image source: WMTW-TV screenshot

The state of Maine has retaliated against a restaurant owner who reopened his establishment in defiance of Gov. Janet Mills's stay-at-home order.

Rick Savage, who owns Sunday River Brewing Co. in Bethel, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson this week that he would reopen his restaurant to dine-in customers one month sooner than Mills's most recent lockdown order allows. He said he did not think the state would do anything to him, and even read on-air what he said was Mills's phone number.

"We've had enough of it," Savage told Carlson.

On Friday, Savage made good on his promise.

According to the Bangor Daily News, Savage reopened his restaurant around noon on Friday, serving roughly 250 people by the early evening. He did implement social distancing guidelines for customers.

Unfortunately, health and liquor license inspectors also showed up and revoked the licenses that Savage needs to legally operate, effectively closing his businesses once again, WCSH-TV reported.

More from WMTW-TV:

The Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages found Rick Savage was not compliant with Gov. Mills' executive order when he reopened the Sunday River Brewing Company Friday afternoon.

The bureau confirmed to WMTW News 8 that the Department of Health and Human Services suspended the restaurant's health license and could take further action if Savage reopens on Saturday without a health license. The suspension automatically suspends that restaurant's liquor license.

Upon learning that his licenses had been revoked, Savage initially said he would continue operating and accept further fines. However, he later shut down the restaurant.

"We will be closed until further notice as of Friday May 1st. Thank you all for support today," Savage posted to Facebook.

Despite having fewer than 1,200 COVID-19 cases, Mills has implemented strict lockdown guidelines in Maine that include not reopening restaurants and much of the hospitality industry until at least June.

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