Virginia restaurateur Matt Strickland, owner of Gourmeltz restaurant in Spotsylvania, has
been operating in defiance of the state’s effort to shut his restaurant down over issues of compliance with Governor Ralph Northam’s arbitrary and capricious COVID-19 restrictions.
Mr. Strickland has refused to stop serving food and alcohol at Gourmeltz despite having his licenses suspended by the Virginia Health Department. Strickland claims that mandates from Northam in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are unconstitutional.
According to reporting by Keith Epps for Fredericksburg.com, the state health department argued in a hearing last week that Strickland’s refusal to comply with such things as mask and social distancing requirements mandated by the state is reason for an immediate closing. An assistant attorney general argued that Strickland’s claim that the mandates are unconstitutional are “staggering” and noted that the same mandates are being followed by businesses throughout the state.
Judge Ricardo Rigual apparently disagreed and, reported Mr. Epps, issued a lengthy ruling denying the state’s claim for a temporary injunction that would have called for the immediate closure of Gourmeltz in Spotsylvania’s Cosner Corner. Instead, the judge urged the attorneys in the case to “expeditiously” move ahead with the legal procedures necessary to bring the case to trial.
The judge wrote that the state has failed to show it will suffer without the injunction or that the injunction would be in the public interest. He added that Gourmeltz is entitled to a full hearing regarding whether the health department’s actions in this case are lawful.
Mr. Epps further reported Judge Rigual’s ruling does not address the merits of the case, but the judge wrote that the state “has failed to clearly demonstrate the factors necessary to grant a temporary injunction.”
The judge probably meant factors like science, common sense, and the constitutional limits on government.
As “two weeks to flatten the curve” turns into “two years to destroy the middle class” the science against massive statewide business and school lockdowns has piled-up, particularly in Florida.
Mr. Strickland appears to be operating according to Florida rules, which have been in place for almost a year and put the Sunshine State in the middle of the pack as far as COVID cases go, and in much better shape than lockdown states like California, New York and New Jersey.
And a big part of the problem is that the so-called science in favor of many oppressive COVID mitigation regulations is looking less and less like science and more and more like a science-free power grab by government.
For example, is there science in favor of the Virginia mask requirement?
Let’s not forget on Feb. 29, 2020 the U.S. surgeon general Dr. Jerome Adams tweeted that masks do not offer any benefit to the average citizen.
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
About a month later, on Friday, April 3, NPR reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that Americans wear "cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials ... as an additional, voluntary public health measure."
Epidemiologist, Professor Carl Heneghan, who leads the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford, and has spent his entire career evaluating and interpreting scientific evidence for scientists and the public, dared to point out that the only published randomized study on the efficacy of face masks calls into question their effectiveness against COVID-19 infection. For his trouble he received a social media flaying but no scientific rebuttal.
So, it should surprise no one that just last week Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not always rely on scientific data and evidence to inform its coronavirus mitigation guidelines.
And all that says nothing about the arbitrary and capricious enforcement of the mask and social distancing regulations, with various celebrities and politicians ignoring them without the kind of punishment Mr. Strickland is facing. For example, President Joe Biden’s special climate envoy, former Secretary of State John Kerry, was spotted maskless in first class on a commercial flight from Boston to Washington D.C. Wednesday just a few weeks after President Biden promulgated his “no mask no fly” rule.
Brave ministers in California and elsewhere, entrepreneurs like Mr. Strickland of Gourmeltz in Spotsylvania, Virginia and simple citizens who believe in science and the Constitution have been appealing to both in lawsuits to reclaim their lives from oppressive unscientific government COVID regulations.
We applaud Virginia Judge Ricardo Rigual for requiring the government to prove its case for the oppression of Mr. Strickland and others in Virginia who want their lives and livelihoods back after a year of unscientific COVID regulation at the hands of Virginia’s Democrat Governor Ralph Northam.
Dr. Anthony Fauci