California restaurant lawsuit over outdoor dining ban dismissed after stay-at-home order lifted

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A lawsuit over California’s ban on outdoor dining and wine tasting has been dismissed without prejudice after the state lifted its stay-at-home order this week, but the vineyard and restaurant group in The originator of the lawsuit said he was ready to sue again if the state puts another ban in place.

The business owners behind this group, The Wine Country Coalition for Safe Reopening, “rushed” to reopen their outdoor dining and wine tasting spaces after the state lifted the order on Monday . Cynthia Ariosta of Pizzeria Tra Vigne in Saint Helena, said getting employees back to work was the “first task”.

“We are all committed to protecting the health and well-being of our employees and customers, and the investments we had already made in our outdoor dining areas have fortunately allowed us to reopen quickly and safely,” said she said in a written statement. “We are just delighted to be able to resume our work and serve our communities.”

Business owners say they’re ready to take another lawsuit if California adds another outdoor eating ban.
(iStock)

CALIFORNIA LIFTS REGIONAL HOME STAY ORDER AMID “POSITIVE SIGNS” OF SLOWER SPREAD

California implemented new regional COVID-19 restrictions in December as new cases increased and patients filled hospitals. The new restrictions included a ban on outdoor dining and wine tasting – activities the coalition said are safer than other indoor retail businesses that have been allowed to continue operating.

Restaurants were still allowed to provide services such as curbside pickup, take out, and delivery. But members of the coalition – more than 50 companies in Napa and Sonomoa counties – have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s public health official, alleging the ban was “arbitrary, irrational and unfair ”.

The business owners behind the Wine Country Coalition for a Safe Reopening "scrambled" to reopen their outdoor dining and wine tasting spaces after the state lifted the order on Monday.  (iStock)

Business owners behind the Wine Country Coalition for Safe Reopening “rushed” to reopen their outdoor dining and wine tasting spaces after the state lifted the order on Monday. (iStock)

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Just six days later, the state ended the stay-at-home order. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of State for Health and Human Services, said in a statement that “California is slowly starting to emerge from the most dangerous wave of this pandemic to date, which is the light at the end of the tunnel that we hoped for. “

State efforts seem to have worked. After peaking at more than 46,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported on December 18, new cases in California have tended to decline since mid-January, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Still, more than 20,000 new cases were reported in the state on Wednesday.

California implemented new regional COVID-19 restrictions in December as new cases increased and patients filled hospitals.  (AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli, File, Pool)

California implemented new regional COVID-19 restrictions in December as new cases increased and patients filled hospitals. (AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli, File, Pool)

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California officials have said they hope they no longer need to “resort to such stringent measures to protect our health care system and save lives.” But they did not rule out this possibility.

Carl Dene, owner of Sam’s general store in Calistoga, said the coalition was ready to take another lawsuit if the state enacted another ban on outdoor dining and wine tasting.

“We support all efforts to limit the spread of COVID, but there is simply no data to show that alfresco dining and wine tasting is contributing to the spread, so we are happy to see the governor follow science, ”he said.


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