The owner of a Big Boy restaurant in Sandusky said he is being "forced to terminate" his franchise agreement due to his plans to stay open and defy the state epidemic order.
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Owner Troy Tank said he is staying open to help the 25 families his employees have. He said the restaurant is following the rules of social distancing with the restaurant only allowing 50% capacity. Employees and guests are required to wear masks.
Between Nov. 18 and Dec. 8, the state issued an epidemic order that closed down indoor dining and bars amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Big Boy Restaurant Group LLC said that it is currently in the process of taking legal action against the Sandusky location to halt operations.
"Big Boy has and always will be dedicated to the health and safety of our customers and staff," a statement from Big Boy reads. "The actions of a franchisee in Sandusky, Michigan are not representative of Big Boy as a brand, our operations, or standards. Big Boy does not condone, approve or support in any way the actions of this franchisee and is in the process of taking legal action to stop them from operating as a Big Boy Restaurant under the present conditions. Big Boy has taken immediate action to rectify the situation, maintain our commitment to quality, and adherence to health regulations."
In a text to patrons, Tank said he plans on moving forward without the Big Boy corporation.
"We had hoped that after 35 years of working together that corporate would sympathize with our cause and rally behind us," Tank said. "They did not."
Tank asked patrons for additional support. A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for fines while defying the state's epidemic order.