San Diego County, California: A California appeals court on Friday, December 18th, 2020 blocked a San Diego Superior Court judge’s ruling in favor of strip clubs and restaurants remaining open countywide amid COVID-19 restrictions.
The three California appeals court judge panel’s brief order gave no explanation and came almost immediately after the State of California asked for emergency intervention, asking to immediately step in, saying the scope of the San Diego Superior Court judge’s order far exceeded what the strip clubs sought when they sued in October and came as the state’s health care system is “on the brink of collapse.”
“In the midst of the worst surge in the COVID-19 pandemic … a single trial court judge has unilaterally thwarted public efforts to avert that looming catastrophe, by issuing an injunction that allows all restaurants in San Diego County to reopen without any restriction, contrary to the orders and judgment of the State’s top health officials,” lawyers for the California Governor wrote in their filing with the state’s Fourth Appellate District.
Two strip clubs mentioned were given until Wednesday to ask the appeals court to reconsider.
Back on Wednesday, Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil granted a preliminary injunction that allowed Cheetah Gentlemen’s Club and Pacers Showgirls International to remain open amid COVID-19 restrictions, as well as countywide businesses with restaurant service, prompting the county to seek an emergency hearing Thursday afternoon for clarification on the ruling.
During Thursday’s court hearing, the judge reinforced that his ruling encompasses all restaurants, not just strip clubs.
The ruling from the San Diego Superior Court judge met the State of California and County of San Diego can’t enforce a Stay-At-Home order regarding strip clubs and restaurants, and that all restaurants, including strip clubs that serve food, across San Diego County can remain open and make their own determinations about providing a safe environment for dancers and patrons during the pandemic.
Following the ruling, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office said Wednesday evening in a statement that it was “disappointed” with the ruling and reviewing its legal options for next steps.