Freedom Foundation

Restaurant Owners Take A Bite Out of Wolf’s Covid Edict

In Lebanon County, just east of the Pennsylvania state capitol in Harrisburg, a small, family-owned restaurant has decided to take on the almost unlimited resources of the state by challenging the lockdown orders and draconian mandates of its tyrannical governor.

This establishment, called “A Taste of Sicily,” is located in Palmyra, a small borough of about 7,500 residents in Lebanon County, and the owners decided to defy Gov. Tom Wolf’s shut-down and mask order by keeping their restaurant open and preserving a livelihood for their family and staff.

Wolf’s administration got tipped about this, however, and decided to lay the full weight of the state down on this small business by imposing more than $10,000 in fines on them back in July.

Interestingly, at one point two inspectors from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture entered the establishment and left a $4,000 citation behind without saying a word.

Remember, this is the same governor who is backed by public-sector union bosses whose paychecks arrive every day, and whose coffers rise to keep their political cronies in office to do their bidding and keep skimming precious dues dollars from hardworking Pennsylvanians while everyone else suffers.

Taste of Sicily co-owner Christine Wartluft and her brother and co-owner, Mike Mangano, sharply criticized Wolf and the state for fining business owners who they say are just trying to stay afloat in these tumultuous times.

The restaurant didn’t require people who come in to wear masks or social distance, nor did it have any barriers such as plexiglass to separate tables or people from one another.

So they were cited. But the owners fought back … and won.

Fast forward to last week, when the restaurant owners finally got their day in court.

The plaintiff’s attorney said the Department of Agriculture tried to cite the restaurant for things it couldn’t lawfully cite them for. The owners pleaded not guilty, and Judge Carl Garvey ruled the family business was unconstitutionally cited and the restaurant was cleared.

Their lawyer said they won’t have to pay any fines and the restaurant is currently waiting for a hearing date against the Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture.

At a time when $1.3 billion in federal coronavirus aid to Pennsylvania remains unspent because politicians in Harrisburg can’t settle on a plan for doing so, countless bars and restaurants are hanging on by their fingernails. Meanwhile, our governor stated this week that 50 percent of Covid-19 comes from restaurants.

In fact, the number is closer to 3 percent — and that includes people who reported eating in a restaurant within the past two weeks but also visited grocery stores, big box retailers and other businesses.

This lie was perpetuated when the Legislature failed to override the governor’s veto of House Bill 2513, which would have set minimum capacity for restaurants and bars at 50 percent and helped thousands of businesses across the Commonwealth survive.

Take a note out of Taste of Sicily’s playbook and open and live free. Freedom and the

Constitution are on your side. This just goes to show the will of the people will always trump against dystopian mandates and unconstitutional orders.