A South Carolina restaurant owner blasted the state’s government over a warning he received over serving guests outside in the patio and parking lot where they sat 20 feet apart.
Weldon Boyd, the owner of Bouys on the Boulevard, was accused of violating state orders by serving patrons food and allowing them to dine in.
He told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show” Thursday that he just got to the point where “enough was enough.”
“We’re at this for six, seven weeks now,” he said. “It’s past the point where businesses can stand this and it’s time that something happened.”
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Many state governments have been accused of taking a lazy, blanket approach in these shelter-in-place orders. Boyd said restaurants that can offer customers an outside dining experience should not be held to the same limitations as restaurants that are indoors only.
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) April 30, 2020
WPDE.com reported that Boyd said he sanitizes seats after each customer and takes other steps to assure his customers’ safety.
The station reported that Gov. Henry McMaster’s office called on all state eateries to close any dine-in service during the coronavirus outbreak. Any violation would be considered a misdemeanor.
“Call me ignorant, call me crazy,” he told the station. “I don’t care, I am trying to save my business and keep food on my employee’s tables. That’s all I care about.”
He told Todd Starnes, the host of the show, that besides sanitizing the tables, kept the group size down and even set the tables 20 feet apart, which far exceeds the so-called social distancing mandates.
He said despite the measures, he was warned by officers from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division that if he did not stop, he would lose his license. He said he was told that businesses in violation would be put to the back of the backlog in court and it could be two years before he could argue his case.
“What blows my mind is Walmart is open,” he said. “Why is corporate America open, making millions and billions while small businesses are dying? I can walk into Walmart, walk up to their deli, and order a sandwich and she can make it in front of me and serve it to me, but I can’t sit people outside my restaurant in the parking lot 20 feet apart? How does that make sense?”
Starnes said Boyd proved his argument that the government seems to show little interest in protecting small businesses across the U.S. These virtual lockdowns have put the country’s economy on life support and sent about 30 million Americans to the unemployment lines.
“They’re not looking out for mom-and-pop shops out there. They’re looking out for big business,” Starnes said. He pointed to the loans from the Paycheck Protection Program that seemed to be gobbled up by companies listed on the stock exchange.
Boyd said he applied for the loan once it became available and has yet to hear back. He said most of his employees haven’t gotten paid from unemployment.
“So I opened up,” he said. “If they’re not going to take care of my people, I will.”