Virginia Takes Restaurant to Court After Owner Doesn’t Obey Mask Requirements


Gourmeltz 90’s Music Bar & Drafthouse, based in Spotsylvania, had its health certification suspended after owner Matt Strickland refused to enforce bar closures and mask restrictions. Strickland refused to close after the certification was suspended, and the attorney general is now seeking an injunction against Strickland that will force Gourmeltz to close, according to Fox5. Strickland had a court hearing on Friday, and is now waiting for a decision from the judge.

“We’ve been dealing with these mandates, all restaurants have, businesses have for almost a year now,” Strickland said in a January video to supporters. “What gets me is they want us to follow all of these mandates but they don’t put them on us for 30 days or 60 days or 90 days. They say, ‘Do x, y, and z for an indefinite amount of time because we say so.’ And as an American citizen that has rights, that just doesn’t sit well with me.”

A crowd of Gourmeltz’ supporters was visible in a Free-Lance Star video. After the Friday hearing, Strickland’s lawyer former Congressman Bob Barr (R-Georgia-07) said the judge would issue a decision after a few days. “We feel that we had a very fair hearing today,” Barr told the crowd. “Depending on how the judge rules that will determine what further steps are necessary.”

Gourmeltz has a supportive base of customers — the restaurant posts pictures of encouraging notes from the community on its Facebook page. Supporter Amy Sudbeck runs a Facebook group for Gourmeltz supporters; the page has over 600 members.

A note left in the restaurant on a napkin states, “Thank you guys so much for this! It’s amazing to see small business to still be open giving the people a choice to wear masks!”

Gubernatorial candidate Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) visited Gourmeltz on Sunday. In a video posted by Sudbeck, Chase told Strickland, “I am so proud of you for being a rebel. Thank you! I love it.”

Chase said, “I’ve been across Virginia with folks like [Matt] who are sick and tired of this tyrannical Governor telling us what we can and cannot do, which businesses are essential, and which businesses are not essential. That is not the role of government, ever, ever.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Gourmeltz” by Gourmeltz.










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