CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (KMOV.com) - The owner of a bar and grill in Chesterfield says he will stay open for indoor dining despite receiving letters from St. Louis County authorities telling him to stop.
Benjamin Brown, who owns Satchmo's Bar and Grill, says he has received two letters from the health department demanding he stop offering indoor dining. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page issued an order banning indoor dining and limiting outdoor dining. The order is part of an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 and went into effect last week.
"They came and served us with a letter stating that we were not in compliance with the safer at home order and ordering us to cease all indoor dining immediately," Brown said.
According to the letter, not complying could result in a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Despite the threat of punishment, Brown says he will not shut down indoor dining, saying he's doing it for his family and his employees.
"They know that we're standing up for more than just a restaurant, we're standing up for people who have been hurt by this everywhere," Brown said.
Brown disputed the violations alleged in the letter and questions whether Page has the authority to enforce such restrictions.
Since Page's order went into effect, county officials say they have received 99 complaints about restaurants, but some may be multiple complaints against the same establishment.
County officials say one health inspector was verbally assaulted by a restaurant owner while delivering a violation letter.
Over the weekend, St. Louis County says inspectors visited 79 restaurants and bars, some were complying with restrictions and others were not.
The next steps on what to do will be determined by the St. Louis County Counselor.