LPD enforces closure order at Madsen’s

LPD had at least four officers stationed at the business as of 7:30 a.m. 
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Lincoln police officers on Saturday enforced a closure order at a Madsen’s Bowling and Billiards.

LPD had at least four officers stationed at the business as of 7:30 a.m.

Capt. Ryan Dale told Channel 8 Eyewitness News it’s unclear how long the officers would be at the business, which has created a firestorm of attention after owner Ben Madsen refused to comply with health measures ordered by the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department.

“Guess it kind of depends on how it goes,” Dale said. “We’re not anticipating any major problems.”

The enforcement comes less than 24 hours after city officials said Madsen’s would be cited for the violations. The business has refused to follow orders from the health department since last Saturday when the business was ordered to close.

City Attorney Yohance Christie said Friday afternoon “further action” would be taken if Madsen’s still did not comply following the citation.

Supporters of Madsen’s lined up outside the building on Saturday.  One supporter Richard Esquivel said he’s a veteran, and it’s not about masks, it’s about the Constitution and freedom.

“It’s about the constitution, what we fought for, what we believe in, our non-restrictions, guaranteed by the constitution,” he said. “That’s why I’m out here.”

Channel 8 spoke with an individual who did not want to release their name. They said they were concerned when they saw children going into Madsen’s on Friday night.

“I was just wondering if those kids were going to be quarantined or tested before they go to school and maybe contaminate other children, because you know Omaha’s holding off from their school system,” the individual said.

Interim Health Director Pat Lopez said the health department was working with Madsen’s to come up with a compliance plan, and that one was expected to be received by the department by Friday evening. Lopez released a statement on Saturday:

“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.”

Mayor Gaylor Baird said the conflict with Madsen’s is “small compared to what’s at stake.”

This is a developing story, we will continue to provide updates as they become available. 

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