In a nine-page ruling on Wednesday, a California judge ruled that restaurants in San Diego County can reopen since the state could provide “no evidence” that they pose a significant risk of spreading COVID-19.
The case originated after two strip clubs sued the County of San Diego and Democrat California Governor Gavin Newsom for ordering them to close their businesses.
After the two clubs reopened for five weeks, Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten served the two businesses a cease and desist letter, ordering them to close again.
The two clubs argued to the court that their businesses were not likely to serve as significant vectors of transmission for COVID-19, and that no case of COVID-19 had been linked back to their activities despite rigorous contact tracing from the county.
“The court infers that… the county possesses contact tracing data and has the power to produce such evidence to refute plaintiffs’ assertions that plaintiffs providing live adult entertainment and San Diego County businesses with restaurant service, such as plaintiffs’ establishments, subject to protocols, do not present any risk… to the spread of COVID in San Diego County,” Judge Joel Wohlfeil wrote in his opinion.
Therefore, Judge Wohlfiel ruled that the state of California and San Diego County are prohibited from enforcing the cease and desist order against “plaintiffs from providing live adult entertainment; and 2) San Diego County businesses with restaurant service.”
In a statement responding to the decision, the county said that it would “suspend enforcement” of COVID-19 restrictions against restaurants.
“The state and the county are analyzing the scope of the ruling and discussing next steps which includes seeking clarity from the court,” the county wrote. “Until we have clarity, we have suspended enforcement activities against restaurants and live entertainment establishments.”
Tina Romano, co-owner of Shannon and Tina’s Place Bar N Grill, told ABC10 News San Diego after the ruling, “We’d be very, very, very happy to break even after all this.”
Romano said that they haven’t let go any of their 11 employees, but “that means she and co-owner/chef Shannon Beckwith haven’t been paid since March.”
Hoping the ruling meant they may be able to operate at a profit soon, Roman added, “You know, it’s exciting and frustrating at the same time.”
The Daily Citizen recently reported on a new study which showed how restaurants have been hit hard from government-imposed edicts in 2020. According to the study, more than 110,000 restaurants have closed so far this year, totaling 17% of all food establishments across the nation that are now gone forever.
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