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Valley business owners defying Governor's guidelines

Posted at 9:57 PM, May 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-03 18:48:28-04

PHOENIX — Local business owners are defying the governor's guidelines, risking fines and jail time, to open their business and avoid closing for good.

Earlier in the week, Governor Doug Ducey extended his stay-at-home order through May 15, shortly after hundreds marched on the Arizona Capitol Building demanding the governor to re-open Arizona's economy.

The Governor also drew a definitive line in the sand for any restaurants and bars that defy the order would face fines and possible jail time.

“I'm asking for that going forward. If that's not there, this is an order that is enforceable by law, a violation is a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail,” Ducey told reporters Wednesday. “And for those that own an establishment and are publicly going to flout the order, you are playing with your liquor license. Don't do that.”

Despite the threat of jail time, one local business owner feels there isn't any choice but to open back up, staying open after detectives threatened to revoke that business' liquor license.

"For us to be able to survive and other small businesses to survive we have to do," said a business owner who asked to remain anonymous. "It's a catch 22. If you don't do enough business doing take out you lose your business either way."

Urging small business owners to open is a new group called Great 48! and has quickly garnered nearly thousands of Facebook members.

"Great 48! is all about helping your business reopen and stay open! This group was created to help the Great 48! members to share and promote the businesses they own or love," stated on the group's Facebook page.

"Our base assumption is that there are some civil and constitutional rights being infringed on," said Jeremy Wood, Founder of Great 48! He believes that his Fifth Amendment rights are being infringed by Governor Ducey's executive orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

"We feel like somebody being able to provide for their family is part of that right," said Wood.

Great 48! will hold a peaceful rally at the Arizona Capitol Building on Sunday, May 3, at noon.

"We believe the most effective method is to mobilize a lot of people and have our voices heard, and we don't plan on stopping here," said Wood.