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'Wake up! Stand up! This is America!': Restaurant owner interrupts news broadcast, urges resistance to COVID-19 state 'tyranny'


'I am not going to put up with it. It's time to rise up.'

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @TarvariousWWMT

Dave Morris saw the news camera and reporter in front of his Michigan restaurant Wednesday and apparently decided he wasn't going to wait to be interviewed.

Instead he walked up and interrupted WWMT-TV's segment on restaurant owners defying a statewide ban on indoor dining — and it turns out Morris has been doing just that.

"My government leaders have abandoned me," Morris — who owns D&R Daily Grind in Portage — told the reporter.

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @TarvariousWWMT

He added to the station that since opening up his establishment for indoor dining Friday, he's seen a record number of customers — and he wants other business owners to open up, too.

"We've got a government that has taken the stimulus money, they gave it to special campaign donors, they gave it to special interests," Morris told WWMT. "They abandoned me, and they have put me in a position where I have to fight back."

Bar and restaurant owners are saying they're feeling the pain of the dine-in ban after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services passed an epidemic order, which was set to expire Dec. 9, the station noted.

But Morris has had enough, telling WWMT he's tired of restrictions putting businesses like his in danger of closing.

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Associations filed a lawsuit to stop the order banning indoor dining, but a federal judge ruled Wednesday that restaurants can't open safely and successfully, the station said.

But Morris has been defying the order and wants others to do the same, calling state actions a "tyranny."

"I feel everybody needs to stand up," Morris told WWMT, adding that fellow business owners should "Wake up! Stand up! This is America! Be free!"

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @TarvariousWWMT

He added to the station that he received a cease-and-desist letter from the Kalamazoo County health department, but Morris said business has been booming, so he would be staying open.

"They want me to go down and be quiet and never hear from me again," Morris told WWMT. "I am not going to put up with it. It's time to rise up. Shut it all down or don't shut any of us down. That's the only way to get control of a virus."

Businesses that defy the state's orders face a daily fine of $1,000 — and the station said Morris was was up to $6,000 as of Wednesday.

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