Written by Michael Palomba
Today is the day that many struggling business owners in San Diego have been waiting for. Restaurants in San Diego County have now been given the green light to reopen their doors.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil issued a ruling on Tuesday saying ‘that the state of California and San Diego County had not provided adequate evidence tying the spread of COVID-19 or lack of intensive care unit bed capacity to live adult entertainment or businesses with restaurant service.’
Many took this to mean that restaurants would be able to reopen. The county reached out for clarity and a county spokesperson said that they would halt enforcement measures for the time being.
“Also, as of this moment, the county will NOT enforce public health orders until the matter is settled.”
Thursday, Judge Wohlfeil clarified his ruling and it was exactly what restaurant owners were hoping for.
“All businesses which provide restaurant service, meaning, all restaurants in the County of San Diego are encompassed within the scope of the court’s order,” he said.
“At first I didn’t believe it,” said Jeff Kacha, owner of longtime North Park eatery Rudford’s Restaurant. “Then, my lawyer called me about 10 minutes after a judge made this order and told me you can go ahead, open indoor and outdoor.”
Rudford’s was vandalized and threatened earlier this year when they said they would stay open despite the state ordered shutdowns.
The judge’s ruling is also good for Alondra Ruiz, owner of The Village, who was issued a cease and desist order by the county and threatened with fines of $1000 per day. Ruiz is hosting a rally at her restaurant this Saturday protesting the state’s coronavirus restrictions and mandatory business closures.
While this is great news, it could be short-lived. Sources say the state is likely to appeal the ruling as soon as today. But while we await further rulings, restaurants are free and clear to open their doors, including seating people inside and outdoors.