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Health Department closes Madsen’s using police presence

Published: Aug. 8, 2020 at 4:16 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A police presence forced the closure of Madsen’s Billiards and Bowling on Saturday. This is after the City of Lincoln filed a complaint in county court to shut down Madsen’s after ordering, for the second time, to shut down Thursday night.

On Friday, Madsen’s had officially been ticketed for violating the DHM. It’s been nearly a week since the city ordered Madsen’s Bowling and Billiards to comply with the mask mandate and follow other health guidelines, like social distancing and keeping groups small.

Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Interim Health Director Pat Lopez had this to say in a statement:

“Madsen’s remains closed. They will remain closed until they submit a plan for operations that meets the requirements of the Directed Health Measure which is then approved by the Health Department. The Lincoln Police Department will continue to enforce the closure order.”

The City said they’re waiting for a plan from Madsen’s that complies with the DHM. Owner Benjamin Madsen took to Facebook this morning letting Lincoln know he’s ready to fight this.

“They absolutely have to silence me because I am the person standing against their tyranny,” said Madsen.

The Lincoln Independent Business Association also met with Madsen’s on Friday. They said around 20 businesses have reached out with similar feelings.

“A lot of businesses are frustrated because they want to get back to normal,” said Bud Synhorst, president and CEO of LIBA. “I don’t see any business blatantly trying to hurt their customers. They want to get back to business, get their employees back to work, get back to what it was like in February.”

Many of Madsen’s customers are defending the owner.

“This is not a health issue to me, this is a Constitutional issue,” a patron said. “The Constitution gives us the right to live.”

“For us playing it isn’t a big deal,” another patron added. “When I came in yesterday to ask him, he said, ‘We’ll take it to the Supreme Court if we have to.’”

On Saturday, several of the customers came out to Madsen’s to protest the City’s actions and support the business.

But the City said not cooperating puts the City’s economic and pandemic recovery at risk.

The city of Lincoln filed a complaint in county court vs. Madsen's Bowling and Billiards.
The city of Lincoln filed a complaint in county court vs. Madsen's Bowling and Billiards.(City of Lincoln)

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