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A Southern California city put a chain-link fence around a restaurant whose owners are fighting to stay open despite coronavirus orders.
The owners of Tinhorn Flats Saloon & Grill in Burbank now face up to $50,000 in fines — for allowing outdoor dining when the county banned it — and have been arrested several times.
“Show me one shred of evidence how I am endangering the public,” Baret Lepejian, the owner who lives in Thailand told the Los Angeles Times, adding that he will not pay a cent of the fines.
“This has never been about safety or the public. It’s never been about that. This whole thing is about fear and control,” he said.
His 20-year-old son, Lucas Lepejian, was arrested for the third time Tuesday for removing barriers set up by police, as residents protest the lockdowns.
Fencing was put up Saturday after a court ordered the establishment’s electricity be cut off, according to an NBC Los Angeles report. Lepejian was using a generator to run the restaurant.
A judge on Friday ruled the owners cannot reopen unless they get new permits.
Lepejian sawed off a padlock on the door, saying officials “trespassed” on their property.
“The city’s trying to make it very political,” he told FOX 11. “I just think every business is essential, a legitimate one that pays taxes…it’s just tyranny and communism that’s occurring.”
The Burbank Police Department said it “vehemently condemns” Lepejian’s “persistent unlawful behavior.”
But many business owners and local citizens support Lepejian for defying the unnecessary orders that don’t seem to follow science.
A GoFundMe legal defense fund for TimHorn Flats has raised over $77,000 as of Monday morning.
“We will not comply with tyrannical rules and closures,” Lepejian wrote on the site. “The clowns at the Burbank City Council have illegally revoked our Conditional Use Permit and Los Angeles City has illegally revoked our health permit.”