‘Nothing changes for us’: Business as usual for Ocean County diner that ignored Gov. Murphy’s executive order

Restaurants all around New Jersey can now reopen for indoor dining, coming two weeks after a locksmith, who was escorted by sheriff's officers, changed the locks on the doors at the Lakeside Diner in Forked River.

News 12 Staff

Sep 4, 2020, 4:10 PM

Updated 1,319 days ago

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Restaurants all around New Jersey can now reopen for indoor dining, coming two weeks after a locksmith, who was escorted by sheriff's officers, changed the locks on the doors at the Lakeside Diner in Forked River, after the owner ignored Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order for no inside dining.
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Limited capacity on inside dining changes nothing for owner Brian Brindisi. Brindisi defied the governor's executive order, saying it was the only way he could financially survive.
He has since continued to allow customers inside to relax and enjoy his very popular dishes, and they have continued to come in droves.
"I'm hoping some of these business owners understand that my fight was not just to make money for me,” says Brindisi. “It was to absolutely get the businesses to open, to push this governor to do what he needed to do to help the small businesses. Listen, we didn't make a ton of money here while we were open. We stayed afloat is what we did."
Brindisi says he has received around 20 summonses at about $1,000 each, which he has no intention of paying, and now that Gov. Murphy is allowing inside dining at 25% capacity, Brindisi says his situation won't change.
"Nothing changes for us,” says Brindisi. “We're just very happy for the other businesses, all the other restaurants are able to open their doors and operate."
Brindisi has taken every precaution to keep his customers safe, even installing an air purifier inside the restaurant. He says nobody who has eaten at the diner has returned telling him they've since tested positive for coronavirus.
“I’m just elated today that a lot of the small businesses have the opportunity to get open and get moving again,” says Brindisi. “They missed a lot of the summer and I just hope good things happen from here on out."
Brindisi says his first court appearance concerning the summonses is set for Sept. 9. He has every intention of fighting them.


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