The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority recently raided a Fredericksburg restaurant in relation to COVID-19 rule violations.
The rollbacks of covid policies and narratives continue, this time in Virginia.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin has just ordered a statewide review of all penalties imposed by the state that are the consequences of violations of covid rules, intending to end enforcement and rescind the punishments.
Youngkin signed an executive order Tuesday directing all state agencies to report the financial and other penalties imposed on people, businesses and nonprofits to Virginia’s secretary of finance by Jan. 15, 2023.
According to the order, this includes penalties such as a withdrawal, suspension or cancellation of licenses or certificates. The order adds that the reports will also detail whether any state contracts were not granted due to noncompliance of COVID-19 guidelines.
The Republican governor also announced his plans to direct state agencies to stop any further collection and enforcement of COVID-19 rules in his upcoming proposed budget on Thursday, Dec. 15.
Younkin called the scope of the enforcement actions by the previous administration “draconian.”
“The fact that businesses are still dealing with COVID-19-related penalties and fines is infuriating. Livelihoods are on the line,” Youngkin wrote. “In the previous administration, we saw our government shut down businesses, close our schools, and separate us from each other. While we can’t undo the damage done during the Northam administration, we are taking action going forward to end COVID-era draconian overreach.”
Youngkin says he looks forward to working with the General Assembly to forgive COVID fines and fees and restore licenses that were “unjustly suspended.”
In the release, the governor’s office says budget language will not apply to instances where the violation was in relation to practices, guidelines, rules or operating procedures intended to protect the health and safety of individuals, patients, residents, and staff of hospitals, nursing homes, certified nursing facilities, hospices, or assisted living facilities.
Interestingly, the owner of a Fredericksburg restaurant that was just raided by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Authority is now running for a state Senate office and is using the action as a fundraising opportunity.
“I’ve seen first-hand what it means to lay it all on the line – first in the United States Army and now as a small business owner fighting off self-serving bureaucrats who love strangling small businesses and punishing entrepreneurs,” read a fundraising email sent out by Gourmeltz owner and 27th Senate District candidate Matt Strickland.
…On Nov. 15, ABC served Gourmeltz an order that suspended the restaurant’s beer and wine license and mixed beverage license for 90 days. The revocation came after a lengthy court battle in relation to the restaurant openly defying several COVID-19 rules imposed by former Gov. Ralph Northam in 2020 and 2021. The Circuit Court of Spotsylvania County ruled in favor of ABC and against Gourmeltz in all respects.
After being served the suspension, ABC alleges Gourmeltz continued to serve alcoholic beverages. On Friday, ABC raided the restaurant to execute a search warrant for records and information related to the possession and sale of alcoholic beverages without a license.
Youngkin has been in office for just over a year, and he is still trying to undo the damage caused by the Northam administration. Here’s hoping Gourmeltz and the rest of Virginia’s business owners have a prosperous and healthy new year, not constrained by further covid nonsense.DONATE
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