SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – A judge delayed a ruling in a lawsuit against the state by a Spartanburg County restaurant owner on Wednesday.
“There were thousands of businesses that were just shut down, and they’re not coming back; so, I’m glad Ike’s is still with us,” Senator Shane Martin said.
Ike’s Korner Grille is known for their burgers, but they’re also known for going against Governor’s Henry McMaster’s order last August, which required all restaurant employees and customers to wear a mask while inside a restaurant.
Ike’s owner Neil Rodgers didn’t make anyone cover their face while inside his business.
“I believe they were doing what they had to do to keep their employees employed so they could feed their families,” Sen. Martin said.
It didn’t stop the restaurant from being fined.
Four citations and $1,200 later, Rodgers filed a lawsuit against the state and Governor McMaster.
On Wednesday, the judge delayed making a ruling in the case.
“I want to see the judge rule because I believe the law is clear,” Sen. Martin said. “If we can’t follow our own statutes, where are we going? The ends do not justify the means.”
State Senator Shane Martin was in the courtroom on Wednesday, showing his support for the restaurant and their decision.
“People in all 46 senate districts across the state are seeing businesses like Ike’s struggle with those, what I call, “illegal executive orders” that came out,” he said.
Martin calls the order “illegal” because he says McMaster extended it without first consulting with state representatives, like himself, for input.
“We wanted to be able to be involved in this process and we weren’t,” Martin said. “The law, I believe, was clear that, after 15 days, he needed consent of the General Assembly. He didn’t get it. I believe that Neil and Angela–and Ike’s–were not breaking the law.”
Some of Ike’s customers who spoke with us agreed that the mandate went too far and said they were proud of Rodgers for standing up for what he believed.
“I think it’s awesome. Someone has to say it,” customer Haley Nelson said. “If they didn’t say it, you don’t know if someone else would.”
“If their customers are choosing to come here and expose themselves, that is their choice,” another customer Meagan Maner said. “I think it should just be thrown out, especially now that everyone is vaccinated, and no one wears masks hardly. The judge should just throw it out and let the restaurant be.”
It’s unclear at this time when a ruling will be given, but we will continue to follow this story and bring you updates as we learn more.