Asheville restaurant defies public health orders, opens for dine-in customers

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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The owners of Rise ‘n Shine Cafe in Asheville defied local orders requiring restaurants to remain closed to dine-in customers this past weekend as the coronavirus crisis continues. Monday morning (May 18), two Asheville police officers visited the Merrimon Avenue restaurant to warm proprietors that they were violating the public health order./ photo by Jason Sandford

Rise ‘n Shine Cafe in North Asheville over the weekend defied local orders that have barred people from dining inside restaurants and allowed people to come in, sit down and eat. On Monday, Asheville police issued the restaurant a citation for its persistent noncompliance.

Monday morning, people were sitting at tables and eating and two officers were seen talking with cafe representatives. The Asheville Police Department posted this statement on its Facebook Page Monday mid-morning:

APD is aware of the non-compliance of the Buncombe County Department of Public Health and Governor Cooper’s orders at the Rise ‘n Shine Cafe. Over the weekend APD received 3 complaints from the community in reference to non-compliance. Officers responded to the restaurant on Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday APD officers witnessed individuals dining in and issued a verbal warning. This morning, as a result of persistent non-compliance to the public health order, APD has issued a citation to the restaurant.

The Asheville Police Department recognizes and understands that this is a very confusing and difficult time for everyone in our community. However, in a further effort to protect those at high risk, and to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our community, APD is strongly encouraging everyone to comply with Buncombe County’s Stay Safe-Stay Home order. It is not our intent to criminalize those who do not comply, but rather educate individuals on the intent of the order with a warning or advisement. However, if the behavior persists APD will consider the use of citations to gain compliance.

In a Facebook post Sunday afternoon that’s since been deleted, Rise ‘n Shine Cafe wrote that it opened because its employees needed work, and income.

“People will try to politicize this, it has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with people’s need to work. It’s a sad day in America when small businesses and their employees are being harassed for trying to survive,” the Facebook post said.

“You have every right to NOT visit our cafe and if you are afraid, you should stay home. Every adult should have the right to make their own decisions, which includes visiting a restaurant, or not.”

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. Godslayer May 29, 2020

    Wait until they find out their liability insurance does not cover claims by customers who contract COVID19 at their restaurant.

  2. NFB May 19, 2020

    The restaurant could have opened for carry out, like many restaurants are doing. This would have offered support for the employees the owner claims to care so much about (but apparently not enough to protect them or the community from a potentially fatal disease) while adhering to the safety guidelines in place.

    Thus, the owner’s attempt to claim that this isn’t about politics are absurd. Doubly so when, as the Citizen-Times reports, there have been photos of her online with one of the leaders of the Reopen NC group, which has done a lot to make a public health issue a political issue.

    From time to time I have had breakfast at Risen N Shine. Now that I see that they have such contempt and disdain for the public health of their community I will never go there again.


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