On Dec. 3, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) once again imposed tight restrictions on residents and businesses in the Golden State in light of surging cases of COVID-19 — but it didn’t take long for the Democrat’s lockdown orders to face a challenge in court.
In a shocking decision Wednesday, a superior court judge sided with a pair of strip clubs in San Diego County that were seeking to be exempted from Newsom’s order closing restaurants, bars, and similar establishments in the state for three weeks amid a spike in coronavirus cases, The Hill reported.
According to The Hill, Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil issued a preliminary injunction in the case that prevents San Diego County from enforcing the governor’s mandates on not just the two strip clubs, but also on other restaurants and live entertainment venues in their jurisdiction while the case works its way through the judicial system.
It’s a welcome win in an area that The San Diego Union-Tribune says has been “crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Judge Wohlfeil said in his decision the county and state had failed to provide him with any compelling evidence that definitively linked the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations to the operation of restaurants and similar businesses.
“Given every opportunity, the County has provided the Court with no evidence that San Diego County businesses with restaurant service, such as Plaintiffs’ establishments, who’ve implemented protocols as directed by the County, present any risk — much less a greater risk than before Governor Newsom issued his December 3, 2020 Regional Stay at Home Order — to the spread of COVID,” the judge wrote, according to the Union-Tribune.
“These business establishments provide sustenance to and enliven the spirits of the community, while providing employers and employees with means to put food on the table and secure shelter, clothing, medical care, education and, of course, peace of mind for they and their families,” he added.
In light of the news, authorities in San Diego said they will cease enforcing Newsom’s order until they have “clarity” on what exactly is allowed.
“The State and the County are analyzing the scope of the ruling and discussing next steps which includes seeking clarity from the court,” a spokesperson for the county said in a statement, as The Hill reported.
“Until we have clarity,” the spokesperson added, “we have suspended enforcement activities against restaurants and live entertainment establishments.”
Newsom’s office also put out a statement responding to the news.
“While we are disappointed in the court’s decision today, we remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting the health and safety of all Californians,” the statement read, as The Hill reported. “Our legal team is reviewing options to determine next steps.”