A Huntington Beach restaurant that has been outspoken in its disregard of state and federal COVID-19 recommendations, such as masks and vaccines, has accepted money from the government’s paycheck protection program.
Despite his vehement posts against the states and the federal government on social media, Pasta E Vino de Basilico accepted $ 57,738 in PPP funds, according to ProPublica’s Small Business Administration loan database. The federal government offered the aid as a lifeline to small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to help cover wage costs.
Asked about receiving the funds, owner Tony Roman responded in an email with the text of a July 27 social media post by the restaurant: “PPP? It’s our money, not theirs! Don’t let them tax you and then use your money to build a war chest, so they can fund programs to advance and enforce tyrannical mandates and restrictions against you! he reads in part.
As of May 2020, Basilico’s has been rejecting security guidelines, particularly mask warrants, including releasing a “Godfather” themed anti-masking billboard in a prominent Los Angeles location near the Beverly Center. The restaurant returned to the news this week after posting a sign saying it would only serve unvaccinated customers.
The sign reads: “Notice Proof of non-vaccination required” above clip art of what appears to be a broken syringe. Under the syringe it is written: “We have zero tolerance for betrayal and anti-American stupidity. Thanks for thinking.
“It’s really an IQ test,” Roman wrote in an email to the Southern California News Group. “If people are so blinded by their rage that they can’t read between the lines of the sign, then our next sign should say, ‘You are too stupid to go in.’
Throughout the pandemic, Basilico has been outspoken about the response to the coronavirus. On its Instagram and Facebook accounts, the restaurant posted fake ‘wanted’ photos of various public figures, including pandemic medical czar Dr Anthony Fauci, Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr Rochelle Walensky, Governor Gavin. Newsom and local politicians.
Basilico’s has received several citations from the state for violations, such as the failure to implement a COVID-19 prevention training program for employees and the failure to provide masks to its staff. Cal / OSHA provided the Southern California News Group with a copy of the citations issued up to June 17, 2021 and confirmed that it fined the restaurant $ 152,060 and Basilico neither paid nor filed an appeal.
“There is no record of a call on this date,” a spokesperson said in an email response.
Basilico’s responded to the quote on July 10 by posting clips from the “The Godfather” film series suggesting it would refuse to pay.
“I won’t even reply to them,” Roman wrote in an email Wednesday. “Will never ask for forgiveness, nor negotiate.”
The restaurant is also at risk of losing its liquor license, accused by the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control of being a “messy local.” The license is still active, but “the matter is pending and the department is unable to comment on pending litigation,” an ABC spokesperson said.
When asked what he hopes the outcome will be, Roman wrote that he is aiming for the government to step down and people to side with restaurant and freedom.
“Our booth is for all Americans,” Roman wrote. “They can thank us later.