WASHINGTON — A D.C. bar owner spoke publicly for the first time about his refusal to enforce the city’s proof vaccine mandate saying he is “doing the right thing, but some of his employees don't agree.
Big Board owner Eric Flannery's comments came just hours after the DC Health Department closed the H Street, Northeast restaurant for violations of DC code that “presents an imminent health hazard to the public.”
Appearing in a short video tweeted by the website The Daily Signal, Flannery addressed a small group of bar patrons, flanked by conservative politicians including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
“You all probably don’t know me, a lot of the world doesn’t know me,” Flannery said. “When people ask me what are you going to get on the other side of this, I don’t know, I just know that I’m doing the right thing, and this place is supposed to be open.”
Flannery was ordered closed after repeated warnings and fines by the D.C. government for not checking vaccination cards of people who eat or drink inside, which is now required by D.C. law for patrons to enter.
“It’s a big decision, civil resistance, civil disobedience, when you lose your livelihood,” Sen. Paul said. “So I’m very proud of him. I’m very supportive of what he’s doing, because he’s saying my individual liberty is worth the price of me even losing my business.”
Days after the city’s new laws went into effect, a WUSA9 investigation spot-checked 20 other businesses in all four quadrants of the city to find out how many of them were following the vaccine card entry mandate. Half of them did not check vaccination status in any form before allowing this reporter to enter, order and eat inside.
But none have been more openly defiant of the law than The Big Board. And that apparently doesn’t sit well with at least some of Flannery’s former employees.
In a post on Big Board's Facebook page Wednesday morning, later deleted, the author wrote:
“Not everyone that has worked at this establishment has the same views as management ... As much as there was no thought in posting on social about their political stance, the same amount of thought was given to who still has access to some of our social media accounts. I also want you to know that the middle finger that you regulars were given...some of the staff were also given and we feel the same way you do ... After all, this is now an 'apolitical' bar. But look at who’s now associated with it.”
A Go Fund Me with the purpose of “fighting against vaccine mandates in Washington D.C.” has raised close to $23,000 to support The Big Board.
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