Bar Rescue star slams government's coronavirus restrictions on restaurants without stimulus program

'How dare our government force us to close,' Jon Taffer said

“Bar Rescue” star Jon Taffer on Tuesday slammed the government for implementing dining restrictions without offering a stimulus program to restaurants amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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“How dare our government force us to close with no stimulus program in place,” Taffer told FOX Business' Stuart Varney on “Varney and Co.” “That's the issue here. We could argue science of closing... But how dare [we] be forced to close with no stimulus program in place, especially when there's dollars sitting in an account that could be reallocated for this purpose.”

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Taffer said the new restrictions led him to get a dozen phone calls from friends in the industry saying “that's it” and that they won’t be opening again.

“We're destroying an industry because there's no correlation between shutdown and stimulus,” he said. “They have to travel together.”

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Taffer's comments came while restaurant owners and workers gathered in New York City on Tuesday to protest new shutdown orders.

“These people aren't protesting or fighting to open their restaurants. They're fighting to protect their lives,” he said. “These people can't survive without their income.”

Taffer said a debt relief package to catch up on past debt is essential for restaurants and bars. He pointed to his recent interview with President Trump where the two discussed the importance of debt relief, the PPP program, an employee retention tax credit and meal tax deductibility. Taffer said, to his knowledge, these elements are “still alive.”

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Taffer has been an exception in the restaurant industry and was able to open a new business in Georgia amid the pandemic. He told FOX Business in November that Taffer's Tavern’s safety protocols go above and beyond what typical restaurants are currently doing, including freezing glassware to kill any bacteria and a machine that senses how clean a worker’s hands are.

Taffer, who has been in the restaurant business for nearly four decades, said on Tuesday that it is an industry that “impacts all of us personally.”

“Seventy percent of restaurants are individually owned. This is the epitome of a family business,” he said. “We're looking at the demise of an industry that is so meaningful to all of us that may never be the same again.”

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FOX Business’ Caleb Parke contributed to this article.