On Dec. 19, precious few Anchorage restaurants dared to challenge the ban on in-person dining that has decimated the once thriving industry.

WATCH: Alaskans share why they took part in the “Day of Reckoning” to support local businesses in Anchorage.

Several caravans drove from the Mat-Su, Kenai and Valdez, braving snow and wind to shop and dine in Anchorage. Billed as the “Day of Reckoning,” the goal was to support local retail outlets as well as any restaurants or bars willing to open for one day and risk a $300 fine from Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson’s code enforcers. Repeat offenses are $600 a day.

When that doesn’t work, the city is willing to take restaurant owners to court to threaten $15,000 daily fines, as they did Kriner’s Diner and Little Dipper Diner this past summer when they dared to opened despite a city ban.

Acting Mayor Quinn-Davidson now has the city under a new emergency order that has closed all in-person service at bars and restaurants, while limiting most other retail shops to 25% capacity. Her order is effective throughout December, one of the most profitable months for businesses that are desperately struggling to stay afloat in the wake of repeated COVID shutdowns.

One of Anchorage’s most treasured eateries – The White Spot Café – opened for dine-in service Dec. 19. A video posted on Facebook shows busy line-cooks preparing meals at the café,  which was established in 1959.

Jackie’s Place is another popular and longstanding restaurant that opened and suffered a $300 fine from municipal code enforcers.

Janice Lee Johnson has worked at Jackie’s Place for 23 years, the last 12 as owner. Her place was hopping early on Dec. 19 as patrons waited in a long line for the chance to help Johnson take a stand against the city mandate.

“The energy from other people matters. Good people. Uplifting people,” Johnson said in a Facebook post after closing for the day. “To all those who came by and those who I had never met before, thank you. Did I get in trouble? A little. Did I make the best choice? Not to everyone, but (it) wasn’t for them to decide. Was it a wonderful day? It was exactly what people needed. Smiles, kindness, hope and all that good stuff. Thank you for helping out.”

Johnson admitted that she was “anxious as ever” about opening in defiance of the order. Ultimately, though she doesn’t believe the city’s is being fair to restaurant owners.

Andy Kriner showed up to support Janice Lee Johnson (owner of Jackie’s Place) on Dec. 19.

“I can touch shoulders buying gifts but not across a table,” she said in reference to the unequal treatment between retail outlets and restaurants.

Johnson said business was much better than she thought it would be Dec. 19, but she hoped more establishments would have joined ranks. All in all, she cherished the day.

“I completely enjoyed strangers talking with one another, smiles, kindness payed forward,” she reflected. “We did get the call and the citation, as expected, but it was worth it and (it) will be one of my favorite days ever. I hope the end is soon. Again – thank you so much for the support and kind words. Saw a lot of new faces today.”

Johnson said she only opened for the one day, fearing that the city might pull her health permit if she persists.

Her stand inspired at Stephanie Shumpert who tried to dine at Jackie’s Place but encountered the huge line of people waiting to enter.

“We weren’t able to stay because of the wait,” Shumpert wrote on Facebook. “But believe me, we will remember your bravery and determination, and we will be coming to Jackie’s to eat inside as soon as you can open again!”

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A few ‘courageous’ restaurants defy Anchorage mandates on ‘Day of Reckoning’

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • SDBound says:

    Afraid of losing a health permit or fines, but clearly not afraid of losing your business forever. Cowards, all of you.

    All it takes is enough people ignoring the tyrants. Last frontier my ass, more like LA north.

    • A Real Alaskan says:

      And you’re clearly to cowardly to stay and fight since you seem to be leaving the state.

      • Burt says:

        Real Alaskans don’t live in Anchorage.

      • Just Saying says:

        Without Anchorage, Alaska would start to crumble. I see your view point, but just because you live in the village doesn’t make you more Alaskan unless by blood.

  • Kristel Clark says:

    I’ve been a patron of Jackie’s Place for 25+ years. Love the food & the people but Janice, I’m disappointed to see pics of you with no mask. It’s one thing to come together but to not wear masks? A lot of your customers are seniors. Be proactive but be SMART.

    • An Alaskan Patriot says:

      It’s called choice. All the staff were wearing masks the entire time. I patrons chose to either wear a mask or not. That’s how it should be. You choose what you want to do.

    • Sherry Smith says:

      The masks are a joke. Allow everything to open. People can make their own choices about which places they want to go to and how they feel about the atmosphere when they get there. It is so simple, if you are afraid of this virus you can stay home. If you are not afraid you should be able to go out and live. What right does anyone have to encroach if people’s businesses.

      • Jm says:

        Makes no sense Sherry. You wear a seatbelt don’t you? But how dare anyone ask you to wear it and infringe in your rights to keep you and others safe. You can make your own choices. That’s what you sound like. Just because you don’t think masks do anything doesn’t make you correct. You’re entitlement of freedumb is one of the many reasons this will be going well into next year

      • Js says:

        Your statement embodies the self-righteous liberal. Presumptuous “You wear a seat belt don’t you?’ (No). ‘Safety’ is fluid, arbitrarily defined by whoever is given the authority to do so for just as arbitrary reasons. People aren’t defined as a threat on the basis of something you DON’T KNOW, absurd – unless you’re a Borg democrat. That premise has infinite variables and plays into the hands of despots, like this Assembly. You’re willing to sell out other peoples ‘freedumb’ (articulated like a six year old who doesn’t understand the concept of liberty) because YOU choose not to exercise yours. You’re willing enough to vomit your mindless opinion, but not capable of acquiring the information that show masks do NOTHING but appease the weak minded acquiescent. This obscene excuse for a mayor is on the classic democrat power high, as the Anchorage Assembly has demonstrated in the past. Liberties are paramount in the FACE OF MORTALITY. You have the freedom to hole up, lockdown and quarantine yourself till death if you choose. This entire scamdemic, magnifying the threat of a real virus so the timid, child minded can tremble in fear till everyone else coddles them, has been an OBVIOUS political scam and constitutional crime of historic levels. The play mayor and Anchorage Assembly are criminals. Every tyrant has risen to power on the wings of fabricated ‘crisis’ and the perpetuating simulated fear of willing minions like you.

      • Dr Ken Roy Peterson says:

        Well said, and absolutely true! I’ve read so many studies, and I’m yet to find one where you can’t find the truth (inconsistencies) where they’re actually proving that the masks Do Not work or in the least are inefficient. At best, few studies claim that the respiratory droplets can be lessened but originally droplets were only in coughing and sneezing, now they’re trying to say, all of the vapors we’re emitting are large respiratory droplets coming out of our mouth‘s from simple breathing or talking, but even if that was true with the droplets are aerosol vapors, smaller molecules that ALL the studies prove and most often clearly state go right through the larger pores of the mask!
        Even Fauci hasn’t returned my email to him asking him or the NIAID to send me even just one study that “the science works“. Then I would believe his flip flopping on this issue.
        Sorry for the rant, all businesses should be opened for business no one should live in fear especially when people are surviving this virus. Protect the vulnerable let everyone else live!

    • Colorado Conservative says:

      Wearing a suffocating face diaper is worthless. Watch Dr. Ted Noel’s short YouTube video demonstration showing the various masks and how useless they are at preventing transmission of viral particles.

  • AK1 says:

    Thank You to all of the businesses that opened. God Bless America!

  • Inger MacRae says:

    Stupid and reckless. I will never go to these places. Thank you for informing me.

    • A True Patriot says:

      What’s stupid and reckless is allowing big box stores to continue to operate while your neighbors suffer and lose everything the worked for. What’s stupid and reckless are the unscientific, unconstitutional lockdowns and mandates targeting individuals or a group of people. If you can’t see that you’re the problem. Continue to live afraid and thank the Assembly for your “safety”. I’d rather die standing, then live on me knees.

      • Sammy says:

        Well said!

      • gary says:

        HEAR HEAR !!!!!

      • Inger MacRae says:

        Unscientific? What planet do you live on? There is so much science supporting mask wearing.
        And oh so brave you all are hiding behind your signatures. I am not afraid of no virus, I’ll die when my time has come, but I will not support businesses who are not complying with local mandates. What happens to their insurance when they’re not in compliance? Their insurance is invalid so they have no backup if a customer should trip and break something while at their place of business. Talk about short sighted.

      • Jim says:

        You’re speaking WAY over her head

    • Sherry Smith says:

      If you think it is stupid and reckless you have the option to stay home. Don’t tell me that I have to stay home and don’t tell these businesses that they have to close.

    • M monet says:

      I won’t either

    • Larry Holmes says:

      This is not about the mask. It’s about political power that you are aiding. Don’t be a Karen! Be an Alaskan!

    • Phil says:

      Please take the time to become educated on the government response to Covid 19 and the long term damage they are creating.
      Good luck.

  • Alicia Fitzpatrick says:

    The key here is MORE support. Thank you, Alaska Watchman for getting the word out. NOW it’s up to each of us to stand up to the bullies and be ready to call their bluff. Don’t pay unreasonable fines and open your businesses and KEEP them open. Get your family, friends and brave acquaintances to stand with you. AND take off the masks!!!

  • Jmk says:

    I cried reading Jackie’s comments. It was so heartwarming to hear of all the kind words and support. 99+% survival rate. People need to be able to make their own choices.

  • Mongo Like Candy says:

    A pathetically weak protest by the few in Anchorage who aren’t sheeple. Actually, I would bet more than half of the protestors were out-of-towners. Anchorage is full of pathetic weak leftists who obey their Covidian Cult Overseers and Chinese Communist Masters. Anchorage is no better than Sodom and deserves no better of fate.

    • The End is Near says:

      So you don’t care if Anchorage falls? That’s fine when the rest of Alaska does with Anchorage you’ll change your mind on that.

      • Mongo Like Candy says:

        Anchorage is getting everything it has asked for. And no Alaska and Alaskans will survive just fine without the Portland of the North.

    • Jm says:

      Lmfaoooo. Yeah, you’re an idiot

  • M monet says:

    I won’t either

  • M monet says:

    I won’t Be going to Any Business that Doesn’t wear mask .

    • Colorado Conservative says:

      The CDC reported that 85% of people who came down with China Virus WERE wearing a face diaper.

    • Alaska Voter says:

      I’m sure the businesses won’t care. Afraid stay the Hell home. Go look for the study from University of Oslo Norway where the difference between wearing a mask and not wearing a mask has no forbearance on whether the people developed Covid or didn’t.

  • LC says:

    When you get sick, when you can’t breathe, stay out of Anchorage hospitals!! Those beds should be for folks who are standing together to keep the infection rates low. Not for people who are adding to the problem. We were down to only two ICU beds open in all of Anchorage and the MatSu Covid floor was 100% full! Finally the number of infections is starting to come down, thanks to the mandates, which means our hospitals and health care workers will get a reprieve – but NO a bunch of out of town idiots has to invade our town, break our mandates, and spread the virus. Keep your ignorant selves home. To the restaurants that did open – you have lost or will never have Anchorage residents as customers who are trying our best to stay safe. We track the businesses and restaurants who take the extra measures and precautions to keep their customers safe and that is where we shop and eat. Those are the businesses that will have our support and patronage going forward. We will never give our business to those of you who have such high disregard for our community health, for our hospitals and hospital workers. These are trying times – but I still shop and get take out food. I make it a point to ONLY give my business to those businesses who are making public health a priority. That’s just good customer service.

    • MM says:

      You willing to apply that logic to drug addicts and alcoholics? Or you want hard working tax payers to give them “free” places to live? How about promiscuous women? You think they should be denied abortions for being careless?

    • B says:

      Proof please because the 7 day positivity rate has gone down from 11/13 from 8.65% to under 5% as of yesterday. And if you are saying 109 patients statewide in hospitals (as of today) equates to hospitals full of covid patients you are being quite a drama queen. Liar

  • Dave Garrett says:

    I am a supporter of all the small businesses, they take your tax money they haven’t missed a paycheck thier families are having a fine Christmas but they don’t care about the rest of us the assy should all go without paychecks and donate what they’ve received for the last few months to the businesses that they have put under to even up the score

  • Kenneth L. Wells says:
    You will find, at that website, everything you need to know regarding how to not get covid and treatment if you do get it.

  • Gilma Quintana says:

    Sounds like a bunch of idiots and hicks want to get sick.

    • MICHAEL HUGHES says:

      There are two types of ignorant people: those who are ignorant because they don’t know any better because they don’t know how to research the facts, and those that choose not to do so.
      Here’s wishing a very Blessed Christmas to all!!!

  • B. Owen says:

    We are Anchorage residents who are proud of the owners and staff at Jackie’s Place. That took courage that is growing rarer each day. Thank you for the great service!

  • NAV says:

    Those who opened their businesses are the very backbone and bloodline of Alaskas commerce.
    These mandates can be shut down indefinitely if you remain United in this just and noble cause.

    Their is a constitutional lawyer who is more than willing to take this case to the state Supreme court if you are all willing and a private investigator who is willing to work free of charge to facilitate your resolve.
    This private investigator helped write the argument for Kathern Henry against Whitmer.

    The only issue in Michigan was the people failed to go after Whitmer and hold her fully accountable for the violations against them. Now were talking financial losses that can be held against the Govenor and former mayor and present mayor and the assembly.
    Their political positions do not protect them.

    If you stay United and focused and want to send a clear message to the tyrants email me your on the right track. It’s your blood sweat and tears that built Anchorage not the local tyrants.

  • Colorado Conservative says:

    EVERY business in Anchorage needs to group together and REFUSE TO COMPLY. If they all did it together like they did on the Day Of Reckoning they would be a force for good. Let the “officials” hand them fines but owners refuse to pay them. The fines would most likely be thrown out in court as has happened with other businesses across America who have defied China Virus government tyranny.

  • Lana Melum says:

    I wish I had known sooner about the “Day of Reckoning’. I would have been there supporting all the small businesses. We need a march on the acting mayor’s office and the Assembly. I hope they know that the people have the vote. Make sure not to re-elect any of these tyrants.