Matt Strickland, owner of Gourmeltz in Fredricksburg, VA. Photo Courtesy of Matt Strickland on Facebook.

A Fredericksburg, Virginia restaurant owner had his business raided last week by law enforcement officials after the Virginia ABC suspended his liquor license

… over COVID measures he openly violated over two years ago.

Matt Strickland, the owner of Gourmeltz in Cosner’s Corner is an Army Veteran who knew he went overseas to fight tyranny. He never anticipated having to fight it in his home state of Virginia years later as a small business owner.

There’s video of the raid on his business that has been circulating around social media – and has been picked up many news outlets both inside and outside of the Commonwealth.

Strickland spoke with The Republican Standard earlier this week to share his story.

When the pandemic first struck, Strickland said he chose to comply with mandates issued by the state. However, by June of that year, Strickland says that many provisions set forth by the state government under Northam’s leadership “didn’t make sense.”

Strickland says he realized the mandates were “totally arbitrary”. He brought up such examples as partons having to wear a mask while walking into his business but being able to have it off while seated – as well as patrons being unable to sit at his bar directly but being able to sit at a high top table pulled up level with the bar.

He was cited for not complying with Health Department regulations – and his business’s liquor license was threatened. In the Commonwealth, an ABC license is tied to the health department license. Strickland was able to win in court to get his health department license back but has been unsuccessful regarding his ABC license.

This led to the raid on his business less than a week ago.

Amid record-high inflation when food costs are increasing by the day, Stickland says that small “mom-and-pop” businesses like his own only make a profit on the sales of alcohol.

Now, Strickland says he feels that the government that he fought for overseas is trying to strip his American dream away.

Strickland called upon Governor Glenn Youngkin to put a stop to the prosecution of businesses like his own as a result of COVID mandates issued by the previous administration under Governor Northam.

Governor Youngkin issued an Executive Order yesterday that Strickland believes doesn’t go far enough.


Strickland’s initial experiences as a business owner during the COVID – 19 pandemic also led him to believe that “you can’t comply your way back to freedom.”

He is now running for the Virginia State Senate because he doesn’t want to “pass this fight along” to his kids. He believes that he has “to fight and to win” because he sees standing up to Big Government as a duty.

Strickland isn’t backing down to anyone – Democrat or Republican.

He told The Republican Standard:

“I hope my story opens people’s eyes to the situation in the country right now, no matter how uncomfortable or stressful it is for us, We need to see this through right now. we need to fight for our country or we will lose it forever.”