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Hickory ax throwing business defies stay at home order

Patriot Axe Throwing has been operating for a week since reopening.

HICKORY, N.C. — A Hickory ax throwing business remains open a week after publicly defying Governor Roy Cooper's stay at home order.

Patriot Axe Throwing, located off U.S. Hwy 70 SE, is allowing people to throw axes and order alcohol to go, but owner Michael Pastelak said Alcohol Law Enforcement agents told him he couldn't sell alcohol for consumption on the premises.

"I told the ALE guys whenever they said, 'Oh we're going to pull your permit,' I'm going to lose my permit anyway because I'm going to end up going out of business," Pastelak recalled. "If you're going to arrest me for trying to provide for my family, then so be it."

He said 25 to 30 people showed up the first day he reopened and more people came in that weekend.

"Me and my wife were both concerned how we were going to pay the bills, how we're going to pay rent, how we're going to keep our employees," he said. "We've gotten a lot of support; we've also had some critics."

Some of those critics posted their thoughts on Facebook, where one person called Pastelak "abhorrently irresponsible."

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Health experts across the state argue people need to follow the governor's stay-at-home order to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Pastelak said they sanitize their equipment and separate groups by every other throwing lane.

"I don't think it's any more risky than going to Lowe's, going to Home Depot or Walmart where you're around gobs of people," Pastelak said.

WCNC Charlotte is awaiting a response from Hickory Police about any investigations it's launched on businesses that violate the governor's order.

The Catawba County Sheriff's Office told WCNC Charlotte, "Our Office has not received any complaints or initiated any investigations concerning the stay at home order."

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