SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A local restaurant defied the governor’s health order but was later shut down after someone complained to state police. Just before noon Tuesday, the Weck’s in Santa Fe was open for indoor dining and about an hour later they had been shut down.
Over the weekend, Michael Dennis posted on social media that he planned to keep his two Weck’s franchises in Santa Fe and Farmington open, despite the governor’s order.
“I came to lunch to meet a friend. I heard that Weck’s was open despite our tyrant governor’s orders and as I walk in a state police officer comes in shuts them down. They were able to honor my order,” says Richard from Santa Fe.
State police tell us they went to the restaurant Monday after receiving a complaint through the state’s website. They tell us they spoke with the manager who referred them to the owner. Police say they were unable to get in touch with Dennis and referred the case to the Department of Health.
Dennis said Tuesday the restaurant was visited by a health inspector who threatened to pull their food permit if they didn’t comply. In a statement, Dennis says “My heart breaks for our employees. Their livelihoods are at stake and the federal assistance for unemployment is ending.”
News 13 caught up with potential dine-in customers who supported Weck’s staying open and they say they were disappointed to see another business close its doors. “We think that supporting local businesses is what they need right now and the governor’s not helping with that. Lowes can open up Wal-Mart can open up. all these other places can open up and she’s killing small local businesses,” says Coby from Santa Fe.
Dennis says they will be complying with the state public health order at both restaurants beginning Wednesday. Dennis says he doesn’t have patios at either of his restaurants but he is looking at ways to serve food outdoors. The other Weck’s locations in New Mexico are not owned by Mr. Dennis and say they have been following all of the governor’s health orders.
Dennis released the following statement Tuesday:
My heart breaks for our employees. Their livelihoods are at stake and the federal assistance for unemployment is ending. At a time that they were beginning to see a light at the end of a dark season, we are told we can no longer serve indoors. Unfortunately, we have no patios at either of our two restaurants. The decision to remain open was not to be difficult or noncompliant. We requested more time for the Governor to take a balanced approach. Every business is weighing the costs of these closures as PPP funding ended in mid-June, on how to make good on their obligations. We need clear direction on how and when we can operate business successfully in the state of New Mexico. We serve a great state of proud New Mexicans whom we love and appreciate. Even those whom did not agree with our decision. We will be complying with the state public health order beginning tomorrow at both restaurants. We pray that God’s blessing and peace would be upon those whom will be laid off with our company and across New Mexico.