Columbus Law Firm Moves to Dismiss Criminal Charges Against Ohio Restaurant Owner Who Opened Two Weeks Early

National Road Diner owner Vicki Brearley faces up to 90 days in jail for opening her Cambridge, Ohio restaurant to sit-down diners on May 2

The nonprofit 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in Columbus (the ones who filed suits against the Ohio Department of Health on behalf of gyms and a bridal shop) have now filed a motion asking that criminal charges against the owner of a Cambridge, Ohio diner who opened in-person dining early be dropped.

National Road Diner owner Vicki Brearley faces up to 90 days in jail for violating the Stay Safe Ohio/Stay at Home Order requiring restaurants and bars be closed to in-person dining until March 15 for outdoor dining and March 21 for indoor dining, with additional COVID-19 health, safety and social distancing restrictions in place. 

Brearley opened her diner for sit-down dining on May 2. 

click to enlarge Columbus Law Firm Moves to Dismiss Criminal Charges Against Ohio Restaurant Owner Who Opened Two Weeks Early
Photo: Facebook

As a result of her decision, the sheriff and health department fined her and threatened other actions.

Then there was a GoFundMe started for the National Road Diner after she was fined, with the description, "Please Help Vicki as she stands up for our Constitutional Rights. Vicki has received multiple visits from the Health Department & Sheriff's office  in regards to her opening up to public seating on Saturday the 2nd at her Diner. She has been advised she is violating an order, and she needs to comply with the government order. After thinking about it most the day, she decided, that it is indeed right to operate her business fully and has decided to open up and stay open until they shut it down and chain the doors. She has had numerous folks offering up support and encouragement as well as those in opposition. Vicki is  facing legal action, fines, licenses removed and other expenses as she is standing up for what she believes in....OUR Constitutional Rights !! If everyone would stand up for what they say is right we would not be facing the expenses we know will be incurred. Please support Vicki save her Diner.  She a very small Mom & Pop Diner as you can see in the pic she has taken out more then half the seating trying to comply as much as possible." 

The 1851 Center says they think this is the "first prosecution of an Ohio business owner for disobedience with the Orders of Health Director Amy Acton, and the first prosecution in the 134-year history of the quarantine statute."

“Ohioans should remain alert that the real-world consequence of seemingly-amicable ‘public health’ regulations is the violent caging of peaceful dissenters who have done no harm,” said the center's Executive Director Maurice Thompson in a release. “But Ohioans ought not fear: the Ohio Constitution prevents the State from criminalizing mere ‘disobedience with any order.’”

You can read the full dismissal request online. 

Support local journalism in these crazy days. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you up to the minute news on how Coronavirus is affecting Cincinnati and surrounding areas. Please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help support our staff. Every little bit helps.

Other ways to support CityBeat: subscribe to our newsletters, advertise with us, or follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles
Join the CityBeat Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.