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China Garden Buffet continues to deny service to upstate disabled veteran

Police incident report
Joanne Powner

An Upstate South Carolina veteran has been denied service at an Easley restaurant not once, but twice since the original story first broke back in June. This Examiner article covered the first incident.

The owner of China Garden Buffet, located at 5648 Calhoun Memorial Highway in Easley, South Carolina, thought he'd be breaking health rules by allowing Joanne Powner and her 6-year-old service dog Nikki into his establishment.

When the first incident occurred on June 20, the police were called, and the owner told Joanne that she and Nikki would be provided service in the future.

On July 18, Joanne and a group of friends paid a visit to China Garden Buffet for dinner. During their dinner, Joanne was told she and Nikki had to leave, as dogs weren't permitted in the restaurant.

Joanne and her friends once again visited the China Garden Buffet, this time for dinner around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 23. Once again, she was disrespected by the restaurant owner. Officer Burke with the Easley Police Department was called to the restaurant, resulting in yet another police report.

Joanne has issued the following statement

"I Joanne Powner would like to file a complaint of a law being broken with my service dog. This is the second time ( see Easley incident report case # 2014-03531) I have been humiliated and discriminated against by a restaurant. The restaurant is China Garden located on 5648 Calhoun Memorial Highway.
At approximately at 20:35 hour on July 18, 2014 I (Joanne Powner) entered China Garden with 8 other people. The owner Mr. Weng sat us all the way in the back a partially separated room from the establishment . There was a table in the main area of the restaurant he could of seated us at. After we sat down to eat he told me I would have to leave by the side door. The side door was marked emergency door only. He unlocked the door so I can leave thru that door. According to the American with disabilities act a business cannot refuse admittance, isolate segregate or treat this person less favorable than other persons which he did He said after the incident last time on 06/20/2014 he stated he got in trouble with the health department and DHEC. The incident on 6-20-2014 was aired on fox Carolina news and he told the reporter he understood the law.
I do have witness's to this situation
Harold and Donna Mckittrick
Greg and Susan Clark
Contact info
Joanne Powner
118 Skyview Circle
Liberty, SC 29657
864-901-8594 7-20-2014"

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

1. Q: What are the laws that apply to my business?

A: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.

The ADA doesn't say "maybe" or "perhaps" a service animal should be allowed. The American with Disabilities Act REQUIRES a business to allow that person inside. Joanne had already shown the paperwork on Nikki the first time she encountered a problem.

Joanne, I think it's a disgrace that any establishment would refuse you and Nikki service. American veterans should receive preferential treatment, especially those who returned to this country with a mental or physical disability.

You have a heart of gold to even give China Garden Buffet a chance to regain your business. Personally, I'd have used some language that would likely have gotten me banned or arrested.

If any of the readers would like to contact China Garden Buffet and tell them what you think of their "service" to disabled American veterans, their phone number is 864-306-2521.

This article may be amended, should more information become available.