Restaurant Owner Sues Gavin Newsom Over COVID-19 Lockdowns

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Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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A restaurant in Sherman Oaks, California, is suing Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other California officials over the state’s decision to close restaurants to combat coronavirus, Fox News reported.

The Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill filed its lawsuit against the governor Sunday, alleging that the coronavirus mitigation policies pursued by the state are detached from the science and overly broad, according to Fox News. The lawsuit also claims Newsom has abused his authority as governor by allowing unelected public health officials to dictate policy regarding without input from the state legislature, Fox News reported.

“Defendants, in a gross abuse of their power, have seized the Coronavirus pandemic to expand their authority by unprecedented lengths, depriving Plaintiff and all other similarly situated small business owners in California of fundamental rights protected by the U.S. and California Constitutions,” the Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill’s complaint claims, as reported by Fox News. (RELATED: Los Angeles Restaurant Owners Protest Outdoor Dining Ban)

Newsom’s new coronavirus lockdown criterion based on the number of ICU beds available in designated regions of the state shut down indoor and outdoor dining, according to covid19.ca.gov. Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill, located in the Southern California region, has been unable to serve customers since the lockdowns kicked in Dec. 6.

Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill became prominent after its owner, Angela Marsden, appeared in a viral video that showed her restaurant would be closed for outdoor dining, but that large tables and tents were set up for the production of a television show in the same parking lot as her outdoor dining patio. This gave Marsden the impetus to contest public health officials’ orders that she finds arbitrary and hypocritical.

“This is dangerous. Mayor Garcetti and Gavin Newsom is responsible for every single person that doesn’t have unemployment,” Marsden said in the widely-shared video. “All the businesses that are going under, we need your help, we need something to do something about this,” she added.

“In her video, Ms. Marsden displays the hypocrisy, lunacy and total disparity between her own socially distanced outdoor set-up at her establishment juxtaposed by a similarly situated set-up containing outdoor tents and chairs associated with the NBC Universal production set for the series ‘Good Girls,’ which was allowed to proceed as essential work,” Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill’s lawsuit argues, according to Fox News.

The lawsuit claims that California’s coronavirus restrictions have “nothing to do with science and data,” and that politicians like Newsom are “supporting their campaign donors at the expense of small businesses,” according to Fox News.

The lawsuit also claims that Marsden has had to spend thousands of dollars to ensure her dining services have remained compliant with California coronavirus policies, funds the restaurant won’t be able to recover if outdoor dining remains forbidden, Fox News reported.

Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill’s lawsuit also draws attention to recent statements made by California officials about the ban on outdoor dining and other activities. The lawsuit uses Dr. Mark Ghaly’s comments during a Dec. 8 California Department of Public Health broadcast as an example. Prohibiting outdoor dining “really has to do with the goal of trying to keep people at home, not a comment on the relative safety of outdoor dining,” Ghaly said.

Newsom even encouraged Californians to do more activities outside in a Dec. 10 tweet.

Previously, other restaurant owners in the area have rallied behind Marsden and the Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill. Marsden organized a protest outside of the home of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl after Kuehl was seen dining out the same day Kuehl voted to ban outdoor dining, according to Fox 11 Los Angeles.

“It’s the community, it’s the employees, that’s who I do it for,” Marsden told the Daily Caller in an interview. “For me it was surreal, I look to my right there was my shuttered patio and to the left there is a 200 person tent with fold-out tables and a catering truck,” she added.