Strip Clubs Lead the Way: Judge Blocks San Diego Coronavirus Restrictions

San Diego strip club (Elliot Spagat / Associated Press)
Elliot Spagat / Associated Press

Two strip clubs successfully sued San Diego County on Wednesday, as Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil ruled that they can stay open during the coronavirus, and extended his ruling to restaurants across the county that had been forced to close.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported:

The ruling by Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil came in a case filed by two San Diego strip clubs. And while the clubs prevailed in earning an injunction that allowed them to continue to offer live dancing, the judge went a significant step further and said the injunction can apply across San Diego’s restaurant sector that has been crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wohlfeil’s ruling prevents local officials from enforcing the latest set of restrictions that went into effect in San Diego County on Dec. 3, not only against the two strip clubs — Pacers and Cheetahs — but also “San Diego County businesses with restaurant service” that abide by health and safety protocols that “are no greater than is essential” to control the spread of COVID-19.

“The State and the County are analyzing the scope of the ruling and discussing next steps which includes seeking clarity from the court,” county Communications Director Mike Workman said in a statement. “Until we have clarity, we have suspended enforcement activities against restaurants and live entertainment establishments.

The ruling applies to the State of California, at least within San Diego County. The ruling also described a plan that the two strip clubs had submitted to be in compliance with health restrictions, including roped-off stages. No cases of coronavirus have been traced to the clubs.

Notably, the judge also cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, where a 5-4 majority struck down New York’s restrictions on religious services. The judge noted that just as in that case, where the governor’s unilateral relaxation of the restrictions did not make the case moot, a preliminary injunction was necessary in this case to prevent Governor Gavin Newsom from suddenly increasing restrictions.

Local officials reiterated warnings to all residents to continue to observe social distancing, wear masks, and wash their hands.

The state remains under a “Stay at Home” order that applies to regions with less than 15% capacity at hospital intensive care units (ICUs).

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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