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Owners of a New Jersey diner defy governor by allowing customers to dine inside

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‘It’s our right to earn a living’: Defiant NJ diner couple use GoFundMe donations to pay off their repeated $1,000 tickets for letting customers eat inside as they refuse to bow to governor’s orders – even when he changed their locks!

  • The Lakeside Diner in New Jersey defied state orders to allow indoor dining 
  • On Friday, the diner served customers inside and outside despite deputies from  Ocean County Sheriff’s Office arriving to with a locksmith to change the locks
  • Owners, Brian and Debbie Brindisi said they needed some indoor seating in order to survive financially 
  • Brian was able to get in while locks were being changed and refused to leave, 
  • And by 7am, the diner was open for business with customers inside and out 
  • The diner has received a total of 10 citations, with two occurring last week  

By Valerie Edwards For Dailymail.com

Published: | Updated:

The owners of a New Jersey diner have continued to defy state orders and local police in order to allow indoor dining. 

Couple, Brian and Debbie Brindisi, told NJ.com that they received a call from their alarm company on Friday morning around 4.30am notifying them that three doors at the Lakeside Diner had been broken into. 

Debbie said they immediately went to the establishment where they found deputies from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, a locksmith and the Lacey Township police. 

Couple, Brian and Debbie Brindisi (pictured) who own Lakeside Diner in New Jersey, have continued to defy state orders and local police in order to allow indoor dining

The couple said they received a call from their alarm company on Friday morning around 4.30am notifying them that three doors at the Lakeside Diner (pictured) had been broken into

Debbie said they immediately went to the establishment where they found deputies from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, a locksmith (pictured) and the Lacey Township police

She said they were in the process of changing the locks when her husband, Brian, managed to get inside. 

By 7am, the Brindisis had opened their restaurant to diners inside and outside the business.

According to NJ.com, the couple have opened their doors to indoor dining since June in order to stay financially afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy indefinitely banned indoor dining in late June after seeing spikes in other states ‘driven by, in part, the return of indoor dining’. 

As a result, businesses in the state have to rely on outdoor seating and delivery and to-go orders.  

Debbie also shared images of the locksmith outside their restaurant, saying: ‘You would think that they wouldn’t because they’re trespassing. But I guess because it was an executive order from our wonderful governor. They didn’t want to do it. But they’re doing their jobs as well.’ 

The Brindisi started opening their doors to indoor dining in early June in order to stay financially afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic. Around the same time, they received a $1,000 fine (Facebook post from Brian) 

State officials said that Friday’s incident marked the diner’s 10th citation since early June. Two of those citations occurred last week

State officials said that Friday’s incident marked the diner’s 10th citation since early June. 

Two of those citations occurred last week. 

Debbie said she and her husband believe that they are well within their constitutional rights to keep their restaurant operating financially. 

‘As well as a need financially to pay our bills here, pay our bills at home, pay our employees, it’s also a constitutional right,’ she told NJ.com.

A GoFundMe page was also started to raise $1,000 that would go toward paying off the couple’s fines.

According to the page, which has raised more than $1,200, the rest would go toward ‘a charity of their choice’.

New Jersey has reported more than 191,000 coronavirus cases and at least 15,943 deaths since the pandemic hit the state in mid-March.  

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