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San Diego businesses file lawsuit against state and county over tier restrictions

Posted at 4:59 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 19:59:44-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Four San Diego businesses, including two restaurants and two gyms, have filed a lawsuit seeking an emergency injunction to stop the latest shutdown orders.

Under the red tier, both sectors were open for indoor operations as limited capacities. Restaurants were allowed to serve people inside at 25 percent of the normal capacity, and gyms at only 10%.

On Saturday, purple tier restrictions will go into effect, meaning businesses like restaurants and gyms must shutdown indoor services completely and move outside.

Cowboy Star Restaurant & Butcher Shop, Home & Away Encinitas, Fit Athletic Club, and Bear Republic filed the lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newson and the County of San Diego, as well as other state and county officials arguing that the closures go against their rights.

The lawsuit states that Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) lack the authority to impose the continuing restrictions on California businesses.

All four businesses detail the numerous health and safety measures they’ve added to provide a safe environment for staff and customers during this pandemic.

“I think it’s pretty clear that the law is on the side of governmental authority to try to get this under control,” said Jan Ronis, an attorney with the Law Offices of Ronis & Ronis. “Why they continue to file lawsuits… it’s beyond me.”

Ronis is not involved in this case, but said when the pandemic began, he reviewed emergency legislation available to the government at both state and federal levels.

“These laws have been in the book for decades, and governments have used them sparingly, and quite frankly think they’re valid as surprised as I was by the breadth and scope of government authority once these emergency declarations are declared,” said Ronis.

He said he had seen similar lawsuits filed across the state during the last several months, and most don’t hold up in court.

“I really feel sorry for the businesses, but the fact is this is a monumental health crisis,” said Ronis.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s public health officer, recently asked for the CDPH to allow the county to stay in the red tier. She explained that businesses that would be impacted the most by purple tier restrictions, like restaurants and gyms, are not the cause for the local increase in COVID-19 cases.

The lawsuit said despite the data provided by Dr. Wooten, the CDPH still denied the request without any justification based on science or data.

Both the law firm that filed the lawsuit and the County of San Diego refused to comment on this matter, stating they do not comment on pending litigation.