Authorities change locks at Forked River diner violating ban on indoor dining; owner changes them back

A locksmith, escorted by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, has changed the locks on a Forked River diner after its owners violated the ban on indoor dining.

News 12 Staff

Aug 21, 2020, 3:27 PM

Updated 1,339 days ago

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A locksmith, escorted by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, has changed the locks on a Forked River diner after its owners violated the ban on indoor dining.
News 12 New Jersey was there as the locks were changed overnight at the Lakeside Diner in the Lacey Township section of town. Owner Brian Brindisi was seen arguing with the sheriff officers while it was happening.
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But Brindisi and his wife Debbie kept the doors open Friday morning and customers continued to come inside to dine – all against an executive order signed by Gov. Phil Murphy which bans the practice. Murphy says this is to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The people who were eating inside said that they support Brindisi taking a stand.
“If our kids are OK to go to school and the governor to push back to sit in the classroom together, why can’t we eat together?” says Pete Arp, of Lanoka Harbor.
There are some restrictions at the Lakeside Diner. Customers must have their temperatures checked and there is social distancing. Sanitizing stations are set up around the diner as well.
Brindisi said that he knew indoor dinging was against the rules, but chose to allow it anyway.
“It’s just an executive order. It’s not a law. The executive order doesn’t override our Constitution,” he says. “Not only that, what am I supposed to do? I just worked for 20 years to get where I am in life and I’m not going to let somebody just come in and shut me down. They could’ve came down here and looked at what we’re doing. Maybe made us the model for the diners to reopen. They didn’t do anything. They just shut our doors and locked us out and that’s it. Nobody should have that type of power.”
But the governor said that Brindisi and people like him who are violating the executive orders are being selfish.
“With all due respect, we want to be free and express our rights. Indoor dining, we’re not allowing it. We have so much evidence – health experts coming out today – overwhelmingly its irresponsible, selfish behavior. So the answer is, damn right we’re going to enforce it,” Murphy said.
Brindisi said that he changed the locks back once the sheriff officers left. The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department tells News 12 that they do not have plans to come back to the diner as of now.
 


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