A Bethel brew pub owner who lost his state health and liquor licenses Friday after he tried to open for business in defiance of state coronavirus restrictions said he plans to reopen Tuesday.

Rick Savage, owner of Sunday River Brewing Co., right, poses with a fan Saturday during a rally opposing the governor’s plan to slowly reopen the state’s businesses.  Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Rick Savage said he plans to reopen Sunday River Brewing Co. at about noon. He said that despite not having the state licenses, he possesses a federal license to make beer that he says allows him to operate.

Amid publicity that included mentions on Fox News, Savage had opened his restaurant on Sunday River Road on Friday in defiance of Gov. Janet Mills’ order that barred establishments from allowing customers to dine inside restaurants and bars as a way of curtailing the spread of the virus.

By midafternoon Friday, about 150 people had lined up outside the restaurant as it reopened.

When the state pulled his licenses in response, he shut down Friday night. He said he couldn’t risk losing his federal license as well, but after checking on its status he insists he can serve customers again.

Mills said last week that she understands many people are “angry and frustrated, some losing patience.”

But, she said, “We cannot flip a switch and open up all the restaurants, all the bars, all the souvenir shops and all the motels across the state to do business as usual and risk a more aggressive resurgence of this virus that will only sicken more people, destroy lives and devastate our entire economy for years to come.”

Savage said he plans to continue pressing the need to reopen Maine in every way he can. He said he hasn’t heard anything from Mills.

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