Rand Paul and Thomas Massie dine at restaurant closed for ignoring COVID-19 mandates
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made an appearance at the Big Board, a bar in the H Street neighborhood of Washington DC, after the city revoked his liquor license and then closed it for refusing to enforce the mask and the COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Paul and his staff visited the restaurant on Tuesday evening, shortly after DC Health published a notice of closure on his front door.
“I’m proud of the owner who didn’t submit,” Paul said.
Representative Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) was also present. Both thanked owner Eric Flannery for protesting the idea that the government could force restaurant servers to inspect customers’ medical records.
“I’m just a little old bar owner,” Flannery said, reciting the names of his regular customers. “I’ve been here for ten years, and I love everyone who comes.”
The Big Board has followed all of the city’s COVID-19 requirements from the start, but at this point in the pandemic, the mandates are a violation of its restaurant’s hospitality philosophy, Flannery said. He was particularly keen to allow his staff to forego masks.
“My servers are not inferior people,” he said. “They don’t need to be masked. They don’t carry disease.”
If checking vaccination cards was so important, the city could send officers to do it, he said.
“I don’t have the people for that,” he said. “I just know I’m doing the right thing and this place is supposed to be open.”
The Big Board is far from the only DC establishment to refuse to follow the city’s masking and vaccination requirements, but it is the first to do so vocally. Flannery made her position clear on Twitter and reiterated it during a recent appearance on Fox News, which drew anger from the government. (Disclosure: I donated to the Big Board’s GoFundMe.)
The DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulatory Administration issued 50 verbal warnings to various restaurants whose staff did not wear masks at all times. Customers, of course, don’t wear masks when eating and drinking. Intentionally or not, these requirements create a second class of on-duty personnel who must follow stricter rules than others, even though there is no scientific support for the idea that any group is more prone to disease than others. ‘another.
Paul and Massie said Raison that DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s enforcement of the warrants was illegitimate.
“Congress allowed you to make these rules, and you’ve proven yourself a misfit,” Massie said.
When asked what message he had for Bowser, Paul said she would be impeached.
“We have a bill in the House and the Senate to remove the power to enforce these warrants,” Paul said.
The Big Board served burgers, fries and water — no alcohol, alas, in light of the liquor license suspension — to lawmakers and their staff.