The shutdown of bars and restaurants ordered by Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker as part of his state’s effort to battle the coronavirus struck one restaurant operator as heavy-handed, and she let the world know it, to her cost.
After the order was promulgated by the governor, festooned across the front of the Rosati’s Pizza franchise in Taylorville was a spray-painted message short on polite language but long on emotion.
“Gov Pritzker,” it read, “Screw You.”
WARNING: The following image contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.
“I did it myself because [Pritzker] had no business shutting my business down,” restaurant owner Peggy Brandon, 57, told the Decatur, Illinois-based Herald & Review.
Brandon has been operating the restaurant for a year, and said business has been good — until now.
She said she’s not sure if the 150-seat restaurant can survive the forced shutdown.
“I just don’t know, I couldn’t tell you if we’ll make it,” she said.
“But I doubt it.”
Not everyone saluted her response:
Unbelievable, this Taylorville IL Rosati’s Pizza putting making money over the health and lives of others! I hope @Rosatis_Pizza revokes this restaurants franchise because I’m appalled! Makes me want to never go to any Rosati’s pizza ever again! pic.twitter.com/Dm3i4CLAx6
— Autumn Temple (@AutumnTemple4) March 20, 2020
The Illinois edict, much like those in other states, allows for deliveries and pick-up orders, but Brandon said neither make up much of her business.
As a result, she said, 20 employees have lost their paychecks.
“Look, there have been no reported cases [of coronavirus] in Christian County. And yet [Pritzker] wants me and my servers to go without income for two weeks. Is the government going to pay us? Hell no, they’re not,” she said, cursing Pritzker and adding, “He needs to go.”
We apologize for the behavior of our Taylorville Franchisee. We will be taking strict action directly.
— Rosati’s Pizza (@Rosatis_Pizza) March 16, 2020
Instead, it was Brandon who went.
The chain did not appreciate her comments, and yanked her franchise agreement, according to the Herald & Review, calling her actions “juvenile.”
A statement from Rosati’s said that Brandon’s “disagreement with the Governor’s decision in no way represents our position.”
“We stand with the Illinois Restaurant Association and the Governor in this difficult decision; we must work together and take extraordinary measures to halt the spread of COVID-19,” the statement said, according to WICS.
“All of our locations are working hard to implement new safety measures to provide for the well-being of our customers and employees.
“Regrettably, this one individual took an irresponsible approach.”
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