SANDY LAKE – A Sandy Lake restaurant owner said she is refusing a state order to close over a flap about a sign she posted.

A woman answering the phone at Hometown Pizza & Grill said she was the owner, but declined to give her name. The woman said an inspector from the state Department of Agriculture told her she had to remove a sign posted at the restaurant’s entrance.

The sign told customers that wearing masks were optional, in violation of state COVID-19 orders. The woman said the inspector told her that she had to remove the sign. 

“I told him I couldn’t do that,’’ she said. “I didn’t want to violate the constitutional rights of my customers.’’ 

She said the state inspector visited the restaurant on Jan. 6 and gave the closure order. 

“I decided not to close,’’ she said. “We still stand for freedom.’’

State guidelines that banned indoor food service for restaurants, bars, wineries, social clubs and other venues went into effect Dec. 12, and expired Jan. 4.

However, state guidelines still call for masks to be worn inside restaurants and other businesses.

Restaurants are now allowed to reopen indoor dining at 50 percent of capacity if they certify with the state that they are following guidelines, including wearing masks. If not, the state limits capacity to 25 percent.

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