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Virginia authorities raid restaurant that declined COVID mandates

'You're part of the problem'

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Yudi Sherman

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December 06, 2022

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05:56 AM

Virginia authorities raid restaurant that declined COVID mandates

A small Spotsylvania restaurant Friday was subjected to a search and seizure by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), who alleged the eatery was selling liquor without a license. Gourmeltz’s liquor license was revoked last year when owner Matt Strickland refused to comply with then-Governor Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 mandates. 

After refusing to force his employees to wear masks or enforce social distancing because the orders were not constitutional, the Virginia Department of Health suspended Gourmeltz’s health permit in January. Then in March, the ABC revoked his liquor license for not having a health permit. 

Strickland, who is running for Virginia State Senate, live streamed the raid of his establishment Friday on his Facebook page. The video shows the officers telling the restaurateur they have a search warrant to search for evidence of alcohol business transactions, but Strickland tells them not to bother. 

"I'm telling you to your face, right now, I'm selling alcohol,” he told the police officers. 

"You guys felt the need to bring all these police officers here just to do that this morning?" Strickland confronted the officers. "How do you feel about coming to shut a man's business down for not following COVID mandates that are not constitutional? How do you feel?" 

The policemen tried to respond that they're just following orders, but Strickland continued pressing the officers. 

“You’re just doing your job? That’s what they said in Germany, too, they were just doing their job. How do you feel about that? You feel good about it?” he challenged. 

Strickland also reminded the state troopers that the COVID-19 mandates, such as lockdowns, had no positive impact on mortality rates. 

“Not only did they not mitigate anything, they’ve actually been found to be detrimental to the community. But you’re still going to shut a man’s business down over that.” 

“You’re part of the problem, every single one of you,” he continued. “What’s going on this country right now, the reason we’re in the situation we’re in as the United States of America, you’re part of the problem, sir. So you can’t complain about what the president’s doing, you can’t complain about the state that the country’s in right now. You can't complain about how screwed up it is. You’re part of the problem, sir. 

“You’re ‘just doing your job.’ So many people were ‘just doing their job’ for Hitler back in Germany.” 

Strickland noted that the mandates also “set our kids back so many years, these mandates. It set small businesses back so many years. It destroyed small businesses. It destroyed them. It destroyed families, it destroyed our community and it destroyed our country. And nobody in here gives a damn about that, they’re ‘just doing their job.’” 

“If you got children, you’re setting them up for failure by not standing up right now, today,” he told the officers. “You’re setting your kids up for failure. You’re setting your family up for failure. 

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