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San Diego County to appeal ruling on strip clubs, restaurants amid health orders

Virus Outbreak California Strip Clubs
Posted at 4:02 PM, Dec 18, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — During a closed session meeting on Friday, the county Board of Supervisors voted to appeal a recent court's decision to allow strip clubs and restaurants to reopen amid California's regional stay-at-home order.

While the board voted to appeal the ruling, Chairman Greg Cox said they have directed the county's legal counsel to only argue against the operation of strip clubs and allowing indoor dining despite California's coronavirus restrictions.

"The Board voted to appeal the order. But the Board directed County Counsel to only argue that the order is incorrect as it relates to the continued operation of strip clubs and the allowance of indoor dining. We support outdoor dining with appropriate safety protocols that have been previously established. We remind everyone that the virus is still out there. Please continue to cover your face, wash your hands and avoid gatherings," Cox said in a statement.

Lawyers from the state joined in the county's appeal, arguing the ruling overreaches, as no restaurants were parties in the suit.

It's unclear when a ruling on the appeal could be given.

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This week, a judge ruled in favor of Pacers Showgirls and Cheetahs Gentleman's Club, which were forced to close in October due to coronavirus restrictions. The ruling was in response to a preliminary injunction granted to the clubs in November that protected them from some enforcement.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil ruled that the adult entertainment businesses and "San Diego County businesses with restaurant service" cannot get a cease-and-desist order.

"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.

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This prompted the county to halt enforcement against restaurants that didn't only offer takeout and delivery, as required under California's regional stay-at-home order. Many local restaurants reopened for some form of in-person dining after the ruling.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said in a statement on Friday that he "vehemently" disagrees with the court's ruling.

"Given the massive rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we must make difficult decisions to slow the spread of the virus. I vehemently disagree with the recent judicial decision allowing strip clubs and all restaurant activities to resume and I support appealing the entirety of the recent court ruling. It is a positive step that our board voted unanimously to join the state in the appeal as it relates to strip clubs and indoor dining," Fletcher said.

California's regional stay-at-home order went into effect after the Southern California region, which includes San Diego County, saw its ICU capacity dip under 15%. Friday, the region's capacity sat at 0%.