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California issues cease-and-desist to San Diego strip clubs

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Posted at 7:27 PM, Dec 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-13 00:58:50-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Governor Gavin Newsom and the state Attorney General California officials served a cease-and-desist letter to two San Diego strip clubs operating amid the state's stay-at-home order.

The letter to the attorneys representing Pacers Showgirls and Cheetahs Gentleman's Club said the state has been informed the locations are operating indoors despite restrictions forcing restaurants to offer only take-out and delivery services under the order.

The letter was sent by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra on behalf of Governor Gavin Newsom and the Department of Public Health.

"We are informed and believe that MIDWAY AND F-12 are continuing to conduct indoor operations notwithstanding the Regional Stay at Home Order currently in effect in the County of San Diego. Such indoor operations violate the terms of the Regional Stay at Home Order, which permits restaurants, such as those run by MIDWAY AND F-12, to operate for take-out and delivery services only," the letter said.

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The letter says the two groups representing the strip clubs, Midway Venture LLC and F-12 Entertainment Group Inc., must reply by Saturday at 5 p.m. that they will comply with the order or they could face legal action.

"To protect the health care delivery system of Southern California from being overwhelmed, the State Health Officer determined that immediate, aggressive nonpharmaceutical interventions must be implemented," the letter states. "Specifically, the Regional Stay at Home Order requires that restaurants, including your clients’ restaurants, may continue to operate for carry-out and delivery services but may not offer indoor or outdoor dining or other services that cause people from different households to come into contact for extended periods of time and thereby increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19."

San Diego County officials voted this week to appeal any "adverse ruling" to a hearing over whether to allow strip clubs to remain open.

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Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said on Wednesday that the majority of the board doesn't view strip clubs as essential and "felt that was consistent with common sense."

"I’m guessing most folks aren’t going there with all the members of their household, so you have multiple households interacting together in a high-risk setting and so we ordered them closed," Fletcher said.

The adult entertainment businesses sued to county and state in October over COVID-19 restrictions that forced them to close indoor operations. A judge issued a preliminary injunction on Nov. 6 that protects the businesses from any enforcement, though the businesses must comply with rules surrounding a 10 p.m. curfew and close early.

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After the county fell into the state's purple tier restrictions that closed indoor operations for many businesses in November, an attorney representing Pacers adult entertainment club told ABC 10News that adult entertainment is a protected form of expression and should be protected as a first amendment right.

The Associated Press reported that the strip clubs say they are keeping dancers six feet or more apart and requiring everyone to wear a face covering.

Steve Hoffman, the attorney for Cheetahs Gentleman's Club, told the AP that the business consulted with experts who said there's no evidence of increased risk to COVID-19 if dancing is allowed.