Judge: California Can’t Force Restaurants in County to Shut Down

December 18, 2020 Updated: December 18, 2020

A judge in California ruled on Thursday that California officials cannot force restaurants to shut down, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil ruled earlier this week that two strip clubs could stay open despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s strict orders that prompted county officials to try to force closures.

“The County’s issuance of ‘cease-and-desist letters’, and Immediate Closure Orders, to ‘a wide array of business and other activities, including gyms, fitness centers, yoga studios, bars, restaurants, spas, fraternities and sororities, religious entities, and entertainment centers’ does little, if anything, to demonstrate any nexus between businesses with restaurant service, such as Plaintiffs’ establishments, who’ve implemented protocols as directed by the County, and the spread of COVID,” Wohfeil wrote in his 9-page order.

“Defendants on the other hand, have provided the court with no evidence that plaintiffs providing live adult entertainment, and San Diego businesses with restaurant service… who’ve implemented protocols as directed by the county, have impacted the Southern California region,” he added.

The judge on Thursday confirmed his order applies to all restaurants and other businesses with restaurant service in San Diego County.

“The court’s intention is that all businesses which provide restaurant service, meaning all restaurants in the county of San Diego, are encompassed within the scope of the court’s order,” he said at a hearing, KUSI reported.

State Sen. Brian Jones, a Republican, praised the ruling.

“Businesses with restaurant service are essential to our communities,” he said in a statement. “Thank you to Judge Wohlfeil for acknowledging these shutdown orders are not grounded in evidence and allowing restaurants to reopen.”

San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond called the ruling “wonderful news!” in a tweet.

California Gov. Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the California justice department in Sacramento, Calif., on Sept. 18, 2019.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

But the city’s mayor, Democrat Todd Gloria, said “the science and data are showing a dire trend in hospitalizations and deaths.”

“I am asking San Diegans to continue to stay home as much as possible, wear a mask, avoid large gatherings, and order to-go to support small businesses. The health of our local economy hinges on the health of San Diegans,” he added in a statement.

“The judge’s ruling does not negate the fact cases continue to rise, ICU capacity is at a breaking point and deaths keep growing. We must take action to slow the spread,” added Nathan Fletcher, a county supervisor.

The county and state signaled they will appeal the order.

Until then, the county will not try to make establishments close down.

Newsom recently ordered a near-statewide shutdown, citing a rising number of COVID-19 cases.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Several restaurants announced reopening plans for dine-in service, citing the development on Thursday.

“We hope to serve you this weekend, and see your (masked) faces once again!” Pacifica Del Mar said on Facebook.

“Exciting news – we’re thrilled to share that we will reopen for outdoor dining tonight at 5 p.m. We can’t wait to see your smiling faces,” added Bleu Boheme on Twitter.

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