Support for Bluffton restaurant continues after owner stands defiant of mask mandate

Local News

Yergy’s State Road BBQ in Bluffton, Indiana.

BLUFFTON, Ind. (WANE) — Customers of Yergy’s BBQ continued flowing through the door Thursday, a week after the owner of the popular Bluffton barbecue restaurant spoke in front of the Wells County Board of Health meeting. The department took note of the business after getting several complaints that it was not following Gov. Eric Holcomb’s mask mandate.

According to the county’s food environmental health specialist, Brandi Schorey, the department of health issued a verbal warning and cease-and-desist order after getting dozens of phone calls and several written complaints about Yergy’s BBQ. A forced closure of the business by the health department is a possible next step, but the move is dependent on a continuation of complaints.

A visit to the restaurant by WANE 15 Thursday found some employees wearing masks, but not all. Among the maskless was Yergy’s Owner Matt Yergler. He did not want to comment on the previous week’s events, which included a strong showing of support by customers.

That support ramped up over the weekend after the meeting. A video shot at the meeting by Quinn Kumfer of Treeboy Productions spread around the community. In it, Yergler spoke for about 13 minutes, beginning and ending with references to scriptures. Several free Bibles sit next to the restaurant’s cash register.

“God has given us a restaurant 3 and a half years ago,” Yergler explained at the meeting. “It is his. And that’s the way we view it.”

According to Yergler, the business has never had a complaint leading up to the mask mandate, adding that he takes the health of employees and customers very seriously. He added that the business has had a good relationship with Schorey.

He is seen in the video adding that science does not back up the claim that masks work before analyzing the list of complaints the business has received. He also said customers and employees had the option of wearing masks in the restaurant.

“You people have no power over us,” Yergler told the board before walking out of the meeting. “Christ is king. So, you can’t take my business from me when we are willingly laying it down. That must make tyrants angry but it should soften the hearts that you oppress.”

On Saturday, a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page addressed the amount of support the business had gotten which led to some food running out.

We are open today 11-8pm. We are extremely grateful for the support we have received over the last two days. Do to increase of business we are short on product. We will have a full menu starting out but we will be running out of certain items as the day goes on. We can’t sell any bulk today. If you have a bulk order already placed we have that for you. Thanks again and God bless!

Schorey told WANE 15 that one additional Wells County restaurant was given a cease-and-desist order and 15 verbal warnings have been issued.

On Wednesday, Governor Eric Holcomb announced a continuation of the state’s mask mandate for another 30 days.

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