Tabletop Store Owner Arrested for Breaking Stay at Home Order; Owner Responds
Businesses and events are doing what they can to adjust to the stay at home orders and quarantine efforts many states have put into place to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Some are staying open and only doing things online, while others like are doing curbside pick up, and still, others have closed completely. It all depends on the state and city guidelines, and in Tampa Bay, non-essential businesses have been told to stop operating completely it seems if they don't qualify under the safer-at-home order. Unfortunately, the owner of a tabletop games store Kitchen Table Games Galen Trent Wood refused to close down on Thursday when confronted by police and was arrested (via Tampa Bay Times).
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said that Kitchen Table Games had been the focal point of several complaints, all stemming from the fact that it remained open for business since April 3rd despite not qualifying as an essential business under Floriday and Tampa Bay's stay at home protocols. That's why they had visited the store, located on 9600 66th St. N, several times previously, 5 times in fact.
Each time they had observed employees interacting with customers, and every time deputies say they gave Wood warnings. They also say every time they warned him he would then get into an argument with them, though he did eventually close the store for browsing. It was still open for curbside pick up and mail delivery though, which in most cases has been fine.
On Thursday the police visited Wood's store once more though, asking him to close the store again. When he refused, deputies arrested him on misdemeanor charges of operating a non-essential business and traveling to operate a non-essential business. He was taken to the Pinellas County Jail and eventually released after posting $500 bail.
After getting back home Wood addressed what happened on Facebook, saying he asked officers for a court order but one was never supplied before they arrested him. You can read his full response below.
"Thank you for all your support! It has been overwhelming, calls from around the country expressing support. We all have a duty to make sure that we remain a country of Laws, of the people, with government that respects the constitution and officers that enforce the law, not try to make new ones. It's your duty to say NO when officers are not respecting the Law of our country," Wood wrote.
"I didn't do anything special or set out to be a martyr. I just asked them to provide a court order or even an interpretation saying why, and after them repeatedly saying they would get a court order, and never saying it was criminal, they arrested me and charged me with a misdemeanor! We cannot allow this to become the norm in the United States of America! Stand up for your rights which are God-given, not granted by the Constitution but enshrined there so we never forget."
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