LONDON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Clifford Smith might be running afoul of the law but the truth is, he doesn’t care.
“It’s not about me, it’s not about this restaurant,” he said from his London establishment, where chicken wings are the specialty. “This is about personal freedom and liberty."
Smith purchased Wingz 2.0 in London in May of 2020, opening soon after Gov. Beshear’s first round of lockdowns. He hasn’t taken a pay check for himself since opening, and isn’t about to shut things down now.
“We can’t afford to pay me and the staff. My wife works here and we pay her less than the hours she works so we can afford to live,” Smith said before welcoming the lunch crowd on Wednesday.
His decision has become a hot topic of conversation. Smith has found many supporters and, of course, many chastising him for the decision to ignore the executive order from Frankfort. The supporters, however, are coming out in droves.
“We’ve probably tripled our business,” Smith said referring to the days since he announced the restaurant would remain open to indoor dining.
“There’s actually a lot of people coming in from out of town right now saying, ‘we’re coming to support you staying open.’”
Jesse Duncan and Jodi Joplin were among them.
“I believe the man is standing up for his business; doing right by his family and his customers,” Duncan said.
Smith isn’t one to call COVID-19 a hoax. And he said his staff is doing its best to clean and disinfect the restaurant’s seating area several times daily. He just doesn’t think he should be forced to close a big portion of his business, especially as others get to remain open.
“We did it simply to protect our liberties and freedoms we have as American citizens.