Police Try To Shut Down Restaurant Defying Stay-at-Home Order, Community Shows Up Anyway


Imagine following the governor’s orders to a tee and getting rewarded for it by nearly losing everything.

That has been the case for Horseshoe Cafe owner Debbie Thompson, whose Wickenburg, Arizona, business has slowly been dying because of Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order. When Ducey extended the order on April 29, she finally said enough is enough and decided to serve customers again.

When she stood up to that order, government officials were quick to try to smack her back down. The local community of Wickenburg, however, did their best to pick her back up.

“I obeyed the law. I did what the governor said to do. I did takeout, I did everything and I’m losing everything. Everything,” Thompson told KNXV-TV.

May 1 was originally the last day of Ducey’s stay-at-home order. On April 29, the order was extended to May 15.

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Police officers came to the cafe on Friday and warned Thompson that she had to close up shop, according to the Arizona Republic.

“I told them I refused to close,” Thompson said, wearing a shirt bearing the image of President Donald Trump. “I’m not going to comply.”

After reopening, customers came out in droves and lined around the block to support Thompson and her business.

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One of Thompson’s biggest supporters is her attorney, Anthony Ramirez of Warnock MacKinlay Law.

Ramirez spoke with The Western Journal about Thompson and businesses such as hers affected by the shutdown.

“It’s very important to understand that I think the order does carry the force of law. The governor did have a right to implement the order; there is a rational basis for the order,” Ramirez said.

“The issue that my client took, Ms. Thompson specifically, with this order was that it’s being applied vaguely and in an overbroad manner.”

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Not only is the law being applied vaguely, but Ramirez also made the case that it’s being applied unequally.

“If you’re Costco or Target or any other retailer out there that has been able to remain open and have people enter your business and otherwise be exposed to other people, they can do it. But small owners are being told to stay shut down,” Ramirez told The Western Journal.

“It is what it is, but when you start criminalizing a business owner that is operating an otherwise legal business, their crime is just opening, we have an issue with that and my client is willing to fight that.”

Ramirez then made it clear that he isn’t denying the fact that there is an outbreak, but rather questioning the government’s response to it.

“Nobody’s denying that there’s a virus out there. Nobody denying that people have died,” he said.

“Municipalities should be very, very careful when they’re considering making criminal that of otherwise legally operating business owners.”

Anthony Ramirez and his firm are hoping to help more Arizona business owners like Thompson who need to reopen before they lose their livelihoods.

“I’ve never advocated for anybody to violate the order,” Ramirez said.

“What I have told them is that if you’re a business owner that’s decided that you need to do what you need to do to take care of your family, I’m a defense attorney. I’ll defend you.”

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
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