San Diego Restaurants Forced To End Onsite Operations Again Due To Appeals Court Order

December 18, 2020

An appeals court today stayed a judge's decision to stop enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions against San Diego County restaurants, meaning eateries must once again abide by California's regional stay-at-home order banning onsite dining.

Following a decision by a Superior Court judge earlier this week that ruled authorities could not enforce California's regional stay at home against restaurants, lawyers for the state filed an emergency challenge to overturn, stating the judge's was overreaching and could jeopardize public health. Three justices from the Fourth District Court of Appeals, District One, read and considered the order and stayed the injunction "pending further order of this court." The court further ordered any oppositions to the state's filing be submitted by noon on Wednesday, December 23, according to the court docket. Lawyers for California argued that San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil overreached in his ruling to apply his decision to all county restaurants, as no restaurants were party in the suit initially filed in October 2020 by local strip club owners behind Cheetahs Gentleman's Club and Pacers Showgirls International. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors also met in a closed session on Friday afternoon and voted to join the state in its appeal.

"We support outdoor dining with appropriate safety protocols that have been previously established," stated San Diego County Supervisor Gregory Cox in a statement. "We remind everyone that the virus is still out there. Please continue to cover your face, wash your hands and avoid gatherings."

In a whirlwind year for the restaurant industry, this latest court decision only continues the ever fluctuating yo-yo experience for restaurateurs and hospitality workers. A number of San Diego County restaurants had reopened this week following the lower court's decision on Wednesday. Following a full shutdown on onsite dining that began in mid-March 2020 when the pandemic began, San Diego restaurants have been forced to modify their operations several times over the tumultuous year, going from open with social distancing protocols in place at various times to being required to close for everything but take out when California's regional stay at home was put in place this past December 7.