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Heber restaurant’s signs poking fun at coronavirus spark laughter, controversy

By Brittany Tait, KSL TV | Posted - Apr. 7, 2020 at 8:46 a.m.

HEBER — A Heber restaurant is still open for curbside and delivery service during COVID-19 business restrictions.

However, some locals said it’s not the food at The Junction Pizzeria & Grill that people are buzzing about.

About four weeks ago, the local business advertised a “buy 1 meal, get 1 roll of toilet paper free” campaign.

It was met with mostly chuckles and praise.

More recently owners changed the Main Street sign to read, “This is the longest anything from China has ever lasted.”

Again, many supporters applauded the humor.

One social media commenter wrote, “I think the sign is great; almost as good as your food. Hilarious and truthful too. Thank you for the lightheartedness during these uncertain times.”

But others thought it went too far.

Local Heber City social media pages exploded with comments expressing frustration about the banner.

On The Junction's Facebook page, one commenter wrote: “This is despicable. I will take my dining dollars elsewhere.”

Another person wrote, “This type of action does nothing but stoke hate.”

Those opposing the sign mentioned a spike in hate language since the outbreak of COVID-19.

According to the FBI, as coronavirus has spread across the U.S., so have reports of violence against people of Asian descent. But local Heber storeowners like Ed Hendershot, told KSL TV the comment wasn’t racist.

“I don’t think it was meant to offend anyone, and there’s no reason for anyone to take offense,” Hendershot, owner of Aspen Grove Rustics said. “It’s a little humor — trying to lighten things up; we all need more of that.”

Heber City police officers got involved on Friday after owners at The Junction said someone threatened their employees over the sign.

“Somebody went in this local restaurant and apparently made a threat. We took a police report,” Lt. Jeremy Nelson said.

He offered insight during a time when law enforcement officials are seeing high emotions.

“We’re going to get through this as a nation, but we need to help each other — by helping neighbors and helping strangers,” Nelson said. “We still need to be civil and try to take care of each other.”

The Junction sign on Highway 40 has been removed.

Brittany Tait

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