Owner of New Jersey Diner Says He Expects to Be Arrested

The owner of a New Jersey diner who was issued a summons on Monday for allowing indoor dining despite state orders due to the coronavirus told a local paper that he is planning on being arrested.

“There’s only two ways they’re going to get me out of here,” he told the Asbury Park Press. “In handcuffs or a body bag.”

He clarified that he does not mean to threaten police, but he just wants to get across that he’s not leaving despite Gov. Phil Murphy’s order.

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The paper reported that Brian Brindisi has been charged 13 times for violating the state’s ban and faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. He told the paper that his business cannot survive without indoor dining and has been otherwise following state health guidelines to the letter.

ABC 7 New York reported that customers have been lining up outside the Lakeside Diner in the town of Lacey. The station reported that, like many small business owners in the country, the COVID-19 outbreak has crushed Brindisi’s business. He withdrew retirement money to help pay employees and also gave out food to those in need.

The Ocean County Sheriff’s Office changed the locks on the business and learned about it after the state effectively broke into the establishment, reports said. Brindisi told NJ.com that he and his wife received a call at 4:30 a.m. on Friday from his alarm company about a possible break-in and when he arrived at the diner, he saw a locksmith changing the locks along with deputies.

“You would think that they wouldn’t because they’re trespassing. But I guess because it was an executive order from our wonderful governor. They didn’t want to do it, but they’re doing their job as well.”

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Murphy has been criticized by small business owners in the state over his handling of the coronavirus lockdown. A gym in the state has also been vocal critics of the governor’s office.

“They want to waste time with me, somebody who has a small place like this?” Brindisi asked. “And this is what they want to waste their time on, instead of governing our state…goes to show you what we have working for us.”

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