Kentucky Coffee Shop Owner Loses License After Bucking Coronavirus Restrictions

Posted: Nov 25, 2020 8:50 PM
Kentucky Coffee Shop Owner Loses License After Bucking Coronavirus Restrictions

Source: AP Photo/Richard Vogel

A drinkery in Kentucky that sells both coffee and alcohol had its alcohol license suspended by the state's Alcohol Beverage Control agency (ABC) on Wednesday after failing to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.

Despite an order from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department to close its doors on Tuesday, Brewed at 124 Malabu in Lexington, Kentucky, opened for business on Wednesday and was inundated with customers who came in a show of support for the store, the Lexington Herald Leader reported. In response, ABC issued an emergency suspension on the establishment's license to sell alcohol.

Owner Andrew Cooperrider -- who is identified as an official in the Libertarian Party of Kentucky, according to his Facebook page -- refuses to stop serving customers inside his establishment.

(Via the Herald Leader)

According to the ABC, the emergency suspension order was issued Wednesday because “the licensee’s continued operation and alcoholic beverage sales at the licensed premises constitutes an immediate danger to the public health, safety, or welfare.”

Also the state found that the coffee shop violated Kentucky statute “by permitting the premises to become disorderly,” which included threatening behavior.

In addition to violating the COVID restrictions, “Mr. Cooperrider followed the LFCHD inspector to the inspector’s vehicle with approximately twenty of the Licensee’s patrons verbally abusing the inspectors,” the order said.

At least four maskless patrons also confronted the inspector inside the coffee shop.

The ABC found that the actions “represented elevated risk of disease transmission and are a danger to the public health in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

Cooperrider was ordered to either keep the alcohol inventory in a separate locked department or “close the place of business.”

It is unclear if he intends comply.

The Hill reports that nearly all counties in the state of Kentucky are in the "red" zone, according to recent data, which means that there are more than 25 reported cases per every 100,000 people in the county over the past seven days. In response, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) implemented new restrictions last week shutting down in-person learning, banning indoor service at bars and restaurants, and reducing capacity inside gyms, offices and weddings.

While several governors are tightening restrictions amid surging coronavirus cases, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has extended his order restricting local governments from fining people for failing to wear face masks and prohibiting local governments from closing down businesses without proper health data to justify the closures.

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