(RightWing.org) – In recent weeks, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ordered some of the harshest and most restrictive orders to combat COVID-19 in the nation. The 39.51 million people who live in the country’s most populous state are under a tight quarantine order. According to the state’s COVID-19 website, everyone is “currently ordered to stay home or at their place of residence, except for permitted work, local shopping or other permitted errands, or as otherwise authorized.”
Translation: we’ll tell you what’s safe and what isn’t. It’s okay for hundreds to gather in big-box retailers, but you can’t attend a strip club or restaurant playing by the rules.
However, some businesses in the Golden State aren’t taking the orders lying down.
In a case involving two strip clubs in Southern California, a San Diego Superior Court judge rebuked the COVID-19 restrictions by the governor and county officials. The two strip clubs may be the unlikely heroes and saviors of the devastated restaurant industry in California.
Strip Clubs Sue
Across the country, questions are being asked about the effectiveness of several COVID-19 mitigation efforts. In the spring, stay-at-home quarantines were enacted to flatten the curve and protect hospitals from being flooded with patients. The measures cost the US economy trillions of dollars in new government debt, millions of lost jobs, numerous business bankruptcies, and permanent closures.
The owners of Pacers Showgirls and Cheetah’s strip clubs sued the county public health officer, Gov. Newsom, and the California Department of Public Health in October. This was in response to their businesses being forced to shut down on August 28. They claimed in the lawsuit that failure to allow their business to operate left them in financial ruin.
Stay-at-Home Orders Lifted
In the 9-page ruling by San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil, a preliminary injunction was granted and prohibited the enforcement of any COVID-19 stay-at-home orders in San Diego County. The judge noted that Southern California’s ICU capacity dropped by less than 1% during the enforced quarantine.
The decision also blocked the enforcement of the cease-and-desist orders against the strip clubs and restaurant establishments. Wohlfeil wrote that the reporting of cases “is vague and marginally relevant, if at all, to the limited issue before the court.” The judge also said that the businesses were “deprived” of direction from public officials. When businesses opened back up for a short time over the summer, the judge said they were also left to “guess on how to re-open their establishments.”
Was the Science Followed by Officials?
For months, elected officials said they were following the science. Yet, Judge Wohlfeil wasn’t convinced that was happening. According to testimony, the strip clubs required dancers to maintain a fifteen-foot distance from patrons and wear a mask. The court asked for evidence if there was a significant increase in risk and was provided no evidence to show there was.
This is just one case of many across the country where elected officials and public health professionals are being questioned about the rationale of their orders and government overreach.
In recent weeks, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of churches in California and New York. The nation’s highest court said officials went too far in their restrictions of worship services while allowing hundreds of people into big-box retailers. Restaurants and other establishments may be next.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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