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San Diego County fights ruling protecting strip clubs from stay-at-home orders

Posted at 1:28 PM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 16:28:43-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — County officials will challenge a ruling that allows local strip clubs to operate while several other businesses are closed or limited under California's new stay-at-home order.

San Diego County's Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 in a closed session on Tuesday, with Supervisors Kristen Gaspar and Jim Desmond voting no, to appeal any "adverse ruling" to a hearing over whether to allow strip clubs to remain open.

The 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.

RELATED: State says San Diego County playgrounds can remain open during stay-at-home order

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said on Wednesday that the board will have a hearing before a judge. If the judge keeps the injunction in place, the board will appeal.

Fletcher said the majority of the board doesn't view strip clubs as essential and "felt that was consistent with common sense." He added that they violate the state's order that bans people of different households from gathering.

"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.

RELATED: Outdoor gyms, parks remain open under California's new regional stay-at-home order

California's new regional stay-at-homehas forced county restaurants to close indoor and outdoor dining, salons and personal care services to shutter, and places of worship to move outdoors as coronavirus cases surge and threaten ICU capacity in several regions, including San Diego County.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.