WA restaurant defies Inslee’s shutdown orders, calling it a ‘peaceful protest’
With riots and protests in the past few months drawing crowds of people, and reports of lawmakers potentially defying lockdown rules, some business owners are upset with what seems to be a double standard and say they’re having trouble taking the mandates from governors like Inslee as seriously as they once did.
Koko’s Bartini, a restaurant in Kennewick, Wash., says they’re going to engage in civil disobedience and not close down during the mandated shutdown. Owner Dana Slovak joined KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show to discuss.
“In March, we had to shut down. There were a few restaurants that could make it. We were living on a shoestring. I had to let my employees go home, get on unemployment, stuff like that,” Slovak said. “Well, it was OK in the beginning, then they started screwing around with the unemployment and they were going, ‘We need to open back up.’ So we started doing to-go meals with the first responders out here and helping them out with sandwiches.”
“But it was hurting,” he added. “It was bad. I mean, I almost closed the doors. It was just one of those times you can’t sleep at night. You’re going, ‘OK, what am I gonna do? I can’t pay the employees living on a shoestring budget.’ The yields are not that much in the restaurant business, and it was pretty tough.”
Slovak says the goal posts keep getting moved. At this point, he says if his restaurant is going to go down, he’d rather go down with a fight.
“They keep pushing the goalposts back: a mask here, hand sanitizer. We sanitize our tables and stuff like this, we keep everything extra clean, which we normally do anyway. So every time they push the goalposts back, we just look at ourselves and go, ‘We gotta fight this.’ We’ve got to fight to the death because if we’re going to go down we might as well go down with a fight,” he said.
Slovak has gone on social media and is telling customers that they’re going to defy the governor and have inside dining.
“Well, it is a peaceful protest. If we call it a peaceful protest, they can’t shut us down,” he said. “So last night was our first night of the peaceful protest, and we had hundreds of people show up. I mean, we’re a small place. So we were slammed last night … Everybody was in complete support, saying, ‘Yeah, you guys stay open,’ ‘we support you,’ stuff like that,” he said.
Slovak says he called it a “peaceful protest” in part because of the way Inslee handled the riots and protests in Seattle and around the state.
“Governor Inslee turns the other cheek when they’re burning down Seattle, and I’m looking at this, and my employees were looking at this and going, ‘This is not right, you know? Why is he turning his cheek on the rioters when he’s shutting us down? That’s not fair,'” he said. “So we got a couple of the restaurants out here that are getting behind us.”
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.