SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Restaurants are hanging by a thread due to pandemic restrictions and an Encinitas based lawyer is keeping them open with the help of the constitution.
"They are in a battle for their very survival," Partner Michael Curran, of Curran & Curran Law, said.
Nearly 98,000 businesses across the nation closed permanently between March and September, according to Yelp.
"You know we were sitting on our couch," Curran said he and his wife were trying to think of ways to help, "[we were] researching the first amendment and thought why can't restaurants protest peacefully in the process of running their restaurants? And the legal reason is, there is no reason why not."
Curran said the constitution will protect their livelihood, just like it protects anyone's right to hold a sign during a protest.
"The highest law in the land is the constitution. It is in full force and effect at all times, in an alleged pandemic and not," he said.
She maintained her stance in a press release issued Friday to ABC 10News, reading in part "Right now, with only take-out allowed we can't have restaurants using the public right-of-way to violate the county's health orders."
On her website she said the pandemic is a "serious health emergency- we all need to do better." She cited a spike in coronavirus cases in the last month as cause for concern.
Wednesday San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria signed an executive order calling for accountability.
Gloria said he ordered the San Diego Police Department and asked the City Attorney to pursue fines and other enforcement actions against egregious violators and people repeatedly violating the health orders.
"Through human history we haven't ever really shut down for a pandemic," El Cajon Mayor Dr. Bill Wells said.
He has been a supporter of businesses remaining open through the pandemic, saying lock-downs don't work and there is no 'hiding from the virus'.
Dr. Wells said the future will hold serious economic challenges, "I don't think that anybody has any kind of comprehension of what it's going to take to get back to any semblance of normal. I think it's going to be a multi-year process, probably a decade."
He hopes vaccines turn the tide and that we all learn something from this.
"I hope that we as a society learn something from this and take a look at our laws, so that no longer somebody under the guise of a crisis can take over an entire state like California with 40 million people with no one to answer to and getting all their direction from public health officials who are completely un-elected and have a very narrow focus," he said.
Curran said his clients hope they don't have to go to court but are ready to fight if the need arises.