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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and several other members of Congress showed up Tuesday to grab dinner at the Washington, D.C., bar that made headlines for losing its liquor license after refusing to impose the city’s vaccine mandate on its customers, and which is now being shut down.
The Big Board in the H Street neighborhood of Washington, D.C., had its liquor license suspended Friday by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) after it was determined it had violated public health guidelines, such as enforcing masks for its employees and checking patrons’ vaccine cards.
City health officials went further Tuesday by affixing a notice to the establishment’s doors notifying them that they were being shut down altogether.
Paul and some of his Republican colleagues nevertheless gathered at the restaurant to show their support for The Big Board by grabbing burgers, fries and water, though no alcohol was allowed to be served.
“Happy to support @thebigboarddc tonight with staff and friends! DC just shut down this business over ridiculous mask and vaccine mandates,” Paul tweeted, linking to a crowdfunding site where supporters can donate to the bar.
Joining Paul were Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., Tim Burchert, R-Tenn., and Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., who participated in a press briefing with The Big Board’s co-owner Eric Flannery.
“I’m proud of the owner for not submitting,” Paul told Reason, adding that Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser should be impeached.
In a tweet on Dec. 22, Bowser announced that people ages 12 and older must receive at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine to enter certain establishments, including restaurants, bars, nightclubs, gyms and other businesses, beginning on Jan. 15. Beginning Feb. 15, individuals will be required to have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine in order to enter certain establishments.
“My servers are not lesser people,” The Big Board’s owner told Reason. “They don’t need to be masked. They don’t carry disease.”
He also said the city should send its own agents to check vaccine cards if they think it’s so important.
“I don’t have the people for that,” he said. “I just know that I’m doing the right thing and this place is supposed to be open.”
Fox News’ Hannah Grossman contributed to this report.