Restaurant owners speak out against COVID fines and warrants
Two local restaurateurs recently faced legal action for operating without a valid health license spoke out against the litigation at the El Dorado County Supervisory Board meeting on November 16.
The county filed lawsuits against the two family-owned restaurants on Nov. 8. Restaurant health permits were revoked last year due to the violation of COVID-19 restrictions.
“Both of these companies did what they felt they had to do to survive,” Danette employee Alicia Selby said in a public comment. “We who work for them are grateful, but now they are under attack. The small family establishments are armed with all the strength of their county government, which announces that they seek to close them until their demands are met.
Danette owner Danette Inman also addressed the board, voicing her opposition to the mask and vaccine warrants, urging them to drop the charges against her company.
“You’re shutting me down because I’m not going to wear a mask,” Inman told the board. “It’s illegal, unpatriotic, illegal. I have fines of $ 300 per day for one month from you, then $ 500 per day the following month. It went to $ 3,000 flat rate here, then to $ 5,000 flat rate a month, now it’s $ 10,000 flat rate. Who… composes this curve?
Inman said she would not pay the fines but was more than willing to pay her restaurant licensing fees.
“I know I need a license to run my business,” Inman said. “We run a clean store. I don’t mind joining this, but I will not submit to wearing masks and illegal fines. I’m just asking you to remove the fines and the ridiculous (and) frivolous lawsuit right now. “
Danette’s and Apple Bistro both have fines totaling over $ 180,000.
Apple Bistro owner Jennette Waldow addressed the board during the meeting’s discussion on opposing Governor Gavin Newsom’s mandate to vaccinate middle and high school students, for which the board has voted 4-1 in favor. Waldow expressed his disappointment with the board, referring to their actions on the mandates.
“We stay open because we care about ourselves and because of our right,” Waldow said. “It’s not a law; it is not a warrant. We didn’t vote on it, you didn’t vote on it, and yet you’re rejecting us… you’re trying to be bigger than us. You are not.”
Selby assured the board that Danette’s had only benefited from staying open, that no harm had been done to anyone. She asked if supervisors were willing to risk employees losing their homes to prove they defied county regulations.
“You will prevent fathers from supporting their families, young couples from paying for their first homes, single mothers from feeding their babies and children, from earning enough to pay rent,” said Selby.
Many who spoke during the public comment and discussion of the students ‘vaccine mandate supported the restaurant owners’ comments, calling on supervisors to stop targeting restaurants.
Supervisors did not respond to restaurant owners’ comments during the meeting.