LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A Lincoln County restaurant owner and County Commissioner is continuing to defy Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home orders. He’s keeping the doors to his restaurant open and taking the consequences.
“The people has been pushed down, stopped down and is tired of government layers taking away their choices,” restaurant owner Carrol Mitchem said.
Mitchem is dishing out a message for the government by keeping his restaurant open, despite a citation given to him by Sheriff Bill Beam on Monday for violating orders.
“I’m just a person who has guts enough tough enough and willing to stand up for the people,” Mitchem said.
Mitchem is also the Chairman of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners. His restaurant in Vale and all others in North Carolina were told they cannot offer dine-in services by the Governor because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s time that somebody stood up and I’m doing that and hopefully other businesses will do the same thing,” Mitchem said.
The Sheriff gave Mitchem the citation, which could mean a $1,000 dollar fine, just before the county commission meeting started Monday.
“You want to talk about breaking the laws? I’m a little grain of sand on the beach here, let’s go to Washington and we’ll talk about breaking laws by not following the constitution,” Mitchem said.
The restaurant had a steady stream of diners all day Tuesday.
“I came out today because I was so excited because they were opening up and we could come back in again,” one customer told FOX 46.
The restaurant is having people wait outside and they’ve also removed some of the tables in order to get fewer people inside.
“I am all for him having his rights to run his business and to make a living and I think the orders have been excessive and keep extending and people are suffering,” another customer said.
Mitchem told FOX 46 that a woman wrote him a check for$1,000 today. She said she wanted him to use it to pay his employees.
He says luckily he hasn’t had to lay off anyone while they’ve been closed for dine-in, but he says the waitresses have been struggling because they haven’t gotten as many tips with carry out orders.