Pandemic fallout: why California restaurants are suing the state


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Thousands of California restaurants are hatching a plan that would put some of the money they spent to stay open back into their pockets.

The class action lawsuit would require a number of counties and the state to return the money paid in fees, licenses and permits to restaurants.

There is no doubt that restaurants have been among the industries hardest hit during the pandemic.

Many have had to pay thousands of dollars in fees, permits and licenses to stay open.

This new trial would seek to return some of this money to the owners.

Paralyzed by the change in COVID-19 restrictions, California’s 60,000 restaurants have seen their results plummet during the pandemic.

“These restaurateurs followed the law and did what they were supposed to do, but at the end of the day they paid a fee that they should recover at least part of,” said attorney Brian Kabateck.

Despite the loss of thousands of dollars in revenue, restaurants have always been forced to pay thousands of fees and permits to stay open.

Lawyer Brian Kabateck says it’s not fair.

“It’s just the fees, the fees they paid to the government. The same government that shut them down, ”Kabateck said.

He is now leading a group of California restaurant owners in a class action lawsuit, which would require counties and the state to return a portion of the fees collected to owners.

“What this represents for most restaurants ranges from a few thousand dollars a year to an average of $ 10,000, but as far as the state goes, we’re talking about the over $ 100 million in fees that restaurants pay. across the state of California to operate, ”Kabateck said.

So far, lawsuits have been filed in San Diego, Orange, San Francisco and Sacramento counties.

The trial is good news for Luis Mier.

For 34 years, his family has run La Canasta. Since the pandemic, he says business has fallen by 30%, and while he says returning fees won’t make up for what he’s lost, it will help.

“At the end of the day, it means a lot to these restaurateurs and at the end of the day it’s just a matter of fundamental fairness,” Mier said.

Several counties, including San Francisco, have had discussions about reimbursement of expenses, but so far Fresno appears to be the only one setting the wheels in motion.

We’re told more lawsuits will be filed in more Bay Area counties, including Contra Costa, Alameda and San Mateo counties in the coming weeks.

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