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A tense video has emerged purportedly showing a California restaurant owner asking public health inspectors “are you going to pay my rent?” during a recent dispute over coronavirus prevention restrictions.
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The footage shared by a reporter from The Daily Caller is said to depict an argument involving Anton Van Happen, the owner of a Nick the Greek Souvlaki and Gyro House location in Ventura.
The city earlier this month issued a notice to restaurants saying they can “stay open for takeout and delivery, but they have to shut down both indoor and outdoor dining” as coronavirus cases across the state continue to rise.
“I followed the rules, I continue to follow the rules and you guys still time after time are giving me citations, telling me I have to close my business – what about my employees?” Van Happen is heard saying in the video.
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“You are not following the rules,” a female health inspector responds.
“I am following the rules, my tables are inside!” he shoots back.
Later in the footage, a male health inspector is heard telling Van Happen that a “permit has been suspended.”
“However, your refusal to close warrants…” the man continues before Van Happen cuts him off, asking him “because what am I going to do if I close? Are you going to pay my rent?”
“No,” the man responds.
“OK, well if you aren’t going to pay my rent, I’m not closing,” Van Happen declares.
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Last week, Van Happen put up signs in the area advertising a protest against the new restrictions, according to KEYT.
“My calling is to all the other restaurant owners to open your restaurants," he reportedly told the station. “If we all open up they can't do anything.”
KEYT reported that his restaurant’s outdoor patio was filled with customers Thursday night.
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