WASHINGTON — A Washington, D.C., bar shut down by the city for refusing to comply with the proof of vaccination mandate, announced Friday that it is re-opening.

The Big Board is one of the only restaurants to defy Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser’s January 15 mandate that bars and restaurants require patrons to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter.

Managing partner Eric Flannery tried to stay quiet as he watched the city restrict businesses throughout the pandemic, putting up with D.C.’s restrictive regulations for months.

“I did some soul searching and said, ‘You know what, The Big Board has always been a place where everybody’s always been welcome, and we are going to continue to be a place where everybody always will be welcome,” he said in a February interview with The Daily Signal.

The D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration suspended The Big Board’s liquor license in early February, crippling the bar’s business, after determining that the bar had failed to check vaccine cards and enforce the city’s mask mandate.

“I think, ultimately, DC is going to come to the right answers,” Flannery said.

“I love this country. I served this country. I believe in what it is,” said Flannery, who is a veteran. “In the end, people are going to realize these aren’t any kind of partisan values, they’re American values. They’re values that we all have grown up and known to be true.”

Flannery’s stance quickly drew support from Americans across the country who disagreed with D.C. punishing the bar owner. A GoFundMe page started by Daily Caller congressional correspondent Henry Rodgers raised over $34,000 in The Big Board’s name.

The same night that the Health Department showed up at the bar and slapped a notice of closure on the door, multiple Republican lawmakers came to The Big Board (where no alcohol could be served) and ordered burgers in support.

“When people ask me, ‘Where are you going to get on the other side of this?’ I don’t know. I just know that I’m doing the right thing,” Flannery told lawmakers that night. “And this place is supposed to be open.”

Discussing the support he has received from Americans across the country with The Daily Signal, Flannery became emotional. He read a letter from a couple in Amherst, Wisconsin, who expressed their support for him and sent him a $500 check.

“We appreciate folks like yourself who are willing to risk your livelihoods to fight for our freedoms,” they wrote, with the quote, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. Now, more than ever.”

“I’ve never met them before in my life,” he said with tears in his eyes, as he showed the $500 check. “Wow. Thank you. Thank you.”

“I know we are doing the right thing,” he said.

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