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Maine restaurant owner tells Fox News he plans to defy government orders, open May 1

"We're encouraging all businesses in Maine to open up. We should have never been shut down in the first place," Rick Savage said on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.'

BETHEL, Maine — Rick Savage, the owner of Sunday River Brewing Co. in Bethel, told Fox News' Tucker Carlson Thursday night that he plans to defy government orders and open his restaurant to dine-in customers on Friday, May 1.

According to Savage, health and liquor license inspectors were on scene and revoked both of the restaurant's licenses. Despite this, Savage says he will continue to operate.

Currently, restaurants are part of Stage 2 of Governor Janet Mills' plan to reopen the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, the tentative reopening date for restaurants in Maine is June 1.

"I've got a restaurant that seats 250 people inside, a deck that seats a hundred, a 2200 square foot patio, so I could put people at six-foot spacing everywhere and get open back up for business," Savage said.

Savage previously said he believed nothing would happen if he chose to open up early.

"I don't think anything's going to happen because she's (Mills) over her head. She's not consulting the experts, she's just doing this to break our state more than we already are," Savage said.

The Oxford County Sheriff's Office released a statement in response to the situation Friday in Bethel. 

"As Sheriff, I swore an oath to uphold the constitutional rights of our citizens, as well as enforce the law," Sheriff Christopher Wainwright said in the statement.

"As in any situation where there is a potential or alleged violation of law, which includes violations of the Executive Orders, for which law enforcement is obligated to enforce, we will investigate reports of violations and take the appropriate action indicated by our investigative findings or refer the complaint to the appropriate state or local administrative licensing agency."

Oxford County Sheriff's Cheif Deputy James Urquhart told NEWS CENTER Maine several agencies are monitoring the situation as well as surrounding areas that may try to mimic what’s being attempted in Bethel.

Sunday River Brewing Co.'s most recent Facebook post, which was around 9 a.m. Friday morning, said the following:

We will be open for 4pm today. With social distancing in mind we will have limited number seat open. We will not be taking reservations.

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"I'm gonna challenge the state to come and see, you know, 'hey this is what we're doing, if you don't like it take me to court,'" Savage told Carlson. "And then if they do take me to court, I'll save my tax money that I collect this month and I'll use that to fund a lawyer."

Savage said he has tried to contact the governor but hasn't been able to get through.

"We've tried to call the governor, you can't even get ahold of them. The lawmakers are left in the dark, both Republicans and Democrats," Savage said. "She's doing this all rogue on her own, so we've had enough of it. We're encouraging all businesses of Maine to open up. We should have never been shut down in the first place."

Not included in the clip below, which was posted on Fox News' official YouTube channel, was Savage dropping a phone number at the end of the live interview, which he claimed was Mills' cell phone number. It's currently unclear if the phone number he offered up was in fact Mills' number. The longer version of the interview can be found here.

Sunday River Brewing Co. is located on the access road to Sunday River Ski Resort. On its website, it's described as offering 'a fun, casual atmosphere with an eclectic mix of locals, tourists and craft beer drinkers.'

As of Friday morning, the Maine CDC has reported 53 deaths of people in Maine who've tested positive for COVID-19. Of Maine's 1,095 confirmed cases, 631 Mainers have recovered.

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