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Judge's ruling on strip clubs includes all San Diego County restaurants

Virus Outbreak California
Posted at 4:25 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 02:19:36-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A San Diego judge said Thursday that his recent ruling protecting two strip clubs from California's stay-at-home order extends to all county restaurants.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil said Wednesday that strip clubs and "San Diego County businesses with restaurant service” cannot get a cease-and-desist order.

Thursday, he reiterated his ruling, saying that it applies to all restaurants in the county, not just the strip clubs in question.

"The court’s intention is that all businesses which provide restaurant service — meaning all restaurants in the County of San Diego — are encompassed in the scope of the court’s order. It’s not limited to plaintiffs who also provide restaurant service, but it is intended to encompass all restaurants within the County of San Diego,” said Judge Wohlfeil.


In response, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the ruling does not change the trends around COVID-19's spread throughout the county and state.

"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," a statement from Fletcher said.

The county and state are expected to file an appeal. The Board of Supervisors was scheduled to meet Friday in a closed session to discuss any next steps.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said while the county and state are determining the path forward following the ruling, San Diegans should continue to wear a mask and distance as much as possible.

"The City of San Diego is working closely with the County and the State to determine the implications of Judge Wohlfeil’s ruling. No one wants our small businesses to be closed, but the science and data are showing a dire trend in hospitalizations and deaths. Over 1,200 have died in San Diego County and the ICU capacity in Southern California has dropped to zero," a statement from Gloria said. "We have a collective obligation to accept the personal responsibility of keeping each other safe. 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."

Wednesday's ruling prompted many local restaurants to open their doors again after they were shuttered by the state's stay-at-home orders requiring restaurants to offer takeout and delivery only. Though it wasn't immediately clear if that meant restaurants could reopen for full service or limited service, such as outdoor dining only.

County officials said Wednesday that until more clarity surrounding the ruling was provided, they have suspended enforcement against restaurants and live entertainment establishments.

California's regional stay-at-home order went into effect after the Southern California region, which includes San Diego County, saw its ICU capacity dipped under 15%. Thursday, the region's capacity hit 0% as the state added more than 52,200 new coronavirus cases.

Wednesday’s ruling was in response to a case brought against the county and state by Midway Ventures and F-12, the owners of Pacers Showgirls and Cheetahs Gentleman's Club, in October, after COVID-19 restrictions that forced them to close. A preliminary injunction was granted to the strip clubs on Nov. 6 protecting them from any enforcement, though the businesses were still required to comply with rules surrounding a 10 p.m. curfew and close early.