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A Maine restaurateur who is fed up with his state's extended lockdown order told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Thursday that he plans to defy Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and reopen his doors Friday.
"The [stay-at-home] order originally stated May 1st [as an expiration date] and we were gearing up for that," Rick Savage said. "We did what we were supposed to do and we closed for six weeks, cooked for the community, went right through the whole restaurant and remodeled and cleaned it and it’s time to open back up."
Savage claimed his Sunday River Brewing Company restaurant in Bethel regularly seats up to 250 people and is large enough to accommodate the new social distancing standards.
"I could fit people in a six-foot space everywhere and open back up for business," he said. "If ... people feel comfortable coming in, come in. If they don’t feel comfortable, call us and we’ll deliver it to your car. If you want to sit on the deck, sit on the deck."
As of Thursday night, Maine had 1,095 confirmed coronavirus cases and 53 deaths from COVID-19.
"We need to open back up, get the summer tourist business going or we're gonna lose a third of our restaurants."
On Tuesday, Mills extended the state's stay-at-home order to May 31, preventing restaurants from opening until June 1 at the earliest.
"We tried to call the governor, we can’t even get a hold of her," Savage said. "The lawmakers are left in the dark, both Republicans and Democrats. She’s doing this all on her own. So we’re encouraging all businesses in Maine to open up. We need to open back up, get the summer tourist business going or we're gonna lose a third of our restaurants and who knows how many hotels and other businesses."
Savage said he felt compelled to speak out on behalf of all businesses across the state that have been shuttered by the pandemic.
"It’s time to go back to work," he said. "If people don’t want to go out, quarantine yourself. We are a very clean restaurant, and I’m going to challenge the state to come and see, this is what we are doing."
Savage added that he is willing to take the matter to court, vowing to "save my tax money that I collect this month and use that to find a lawyer." However, he told host Tucker Carlson that he didn't think that would be necessary.
"I don’t think anything will happen because she [Mills] is over her head. She’s not consulting the experts, she's just doing this to break our state even more," he said.
"We are broke. We were broke before this. She spent our rainy day fund in her first two months in office, so she’s trying to get federal money to bail her out. She doesn’t care at this point about the people in the state of Maine ... If she did, she would be reaching out to these businesses."