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Ivanka Trump Tweets about ‘Nick The Greek’ Restaurant

December 18, 2020

VENTURA, CA – Nick The Greek in downtown Ventura was the focus of a tweet by Ivanka Trump after the restaurant’s owner Anton Van Happen was featured in a news report protesting against the restrictions on his business due to the COVID-19 pandemic, KEYT NewsChannel 3-12 reported on December 15, adding that “outdoor dining is banned under the regional stay-at-home order.”

The restaurant is part of the Nick The Greek franchise which includes 16 locations in California.

Van Happen protested the health restrictions and told NewsChannel, “I spoke to the Health Department before I did that and he gave me his word that was fine because you are allowed to protest. I continued to serve all my food to go, and it was everyone's own prerogative to go sit on the tables,” referring to community members who sat in his restaurant’s outdoor dining area on Dec. 11.

The Ventura County Public Health Department also arrived and noted that the tables and chairs “on Van Happen's terrace were against health orders,” and then “issued a notice to Van Happen ordering his restaurant to close, but he said that wasn't an option,” NewsChannel reported.

Van Happen told NewsChannel, “I can’t shut down this weekend because I have rent to pay and have to pay my employees, it is just not possible. I only did takeout and delivery.”

Van Happen added that “the Health Department reached out again on Monday, and told him to write an email stating he would comply and then the department would drop the closure notice,” NewsChannel reported.

"I got an email back from him saying since we found out you were open on Saturday, Sunday, Monday I am taking my word back and you are going to have to remain closed,” Van Happen told NewsChannel.

Another visit from the Health Department led to an outburst from Van Happen which was video taped and posted online by Jorge Ventura Media and then retweeted by Ivanka Trump with the following comment, “These blanket lockdowns are not grounded in science. These arbitrary rules imposed by callous politicians are destroying lives. It is just wrong for small business owners to have fight so hard to keep their American dream alive.”

Van Happen told NewsChannel, “I don’t do this to get political, I am a restaurant owner and I want to stay neutral. I am purely here for restaurants, and restaurant owners like me.”

The safety measures continue to be strict in many areas where cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, including Ventura County which “saw record case numbers over the weekend, and hospitals are reaching capacity,” NewsChannel reported.

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