State Watch

Judge rules strip clubs exempt from California restrictions

A California judge ruled on Wednesday that strip clubs are exempt from the state’s most recent coronavirus restrictions.

Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil issued a preliminary injunction on the restrictions in San Diego County, after two strip clubs sued over the restrictions, The San Diego Tribune reported.

The injunction, which immediately took effect, applied to “San Diego County businesses with restaurant service” that follow safety protocols that “are no greater than is essential” to controlling the spread of the disease.

The restrictions were first implemented in early December in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. The rules see the closure of indoor dining, bars, salons and other personal services for three weeks.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom divided the states into five regions, and restrictions were triggered once ICU capacity fell below 15 percent.

The plaintiffs, Pacers International Showgirls and Cheetahs Gentleman’s Club, were issued a cease-and-desist order last week because they were violating the policy, NBC 7 reported.

However, Wohfeil found that the clubs were operating with their own coronavirus protocols for five weeks, the news outlet notes.

Steve Hoffman, who represented Cheetahs, told NBC 7 that the clubs will “continue to operate in a manner that takes all appropriate and essential measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while at the same time providing a means for their staff to earn a livelihood.”

Newsom’s office expressed disappointment with the decision.

“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. Our legal team is reviewing options to determine next steps,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
San Diego County said in a statement posted to Twitter that “the State and County are analyzing the scope of the ruling.”

“Until we have clarity, we have suspended enforcement activities against restaurants live entertainment establishments.”

The ruling comes as California broke its records for coronavirus infections and deaths reported in a single day. The state reported 51,724 coronavirus infections and 393 deaths.

Tags California Coronavirus COVID-19 Gavin Newsom

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