State, county officials ask for stay on ruling halting restaurant enforcement

Coronavirus

Diners are seen enjoying food and drinks at a Carlsbad restaurant on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The state of California and San Diego County officials asked an appellate court Friday to stay a judge’s decision to halt enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions against San Diego County restaurants.

The filing challenges San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil’s preliminary injunction issued Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by two San Diego strip clubs that the judge ultimately ruled could remain open.

Wohlfeil’s ruling also encompassed all restaurants in the county and all businesses that provide “restaurant service.”

Lawyers from the state argue that Wohlfeil overreached in his ruling, as no restaurants were parties in the suit.

Meanwhile, the county Board of Supervisors met in closed session Friday afternoon to discuss legal options regarding the judge’s ruling, and ultimately voted to join the state in its appeal.

A statement from Board of Supervisor Chairman Greg Cox said the board would only direct county attorneys to argue against the portion of Wohlfeil’s ruling that applies to strip clubs’ continued operation and allowing indoor dining.

“We support outdoor dining with appropriate safety protocols that have been previously established,” Cox’s statement read. “We remind everyone that the virus is still out there. Please continue to cover your face, wash your hands and avoid gatherings.”

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said, “Given the massive rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we must make difficult decisions to slow the spread of the virus.”

The supervisor said he “vehemently” disagreed with Wohlfeil’s ruling and called the Board of Supervisors’ vote “a positive step.”

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