A restaurant opened for dine-in service Friday in El Dorado County, California, despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shelter-in-place orders meant to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“I will not survive another month. This place is my livelihood and it’s being taken away from me,” Café El Dorado owner Cherie Baldridge told the Mountain Democrat.
Two months behind in rent and facing insolvency, Baldridge and her two employees realized that opening up was their last resort.
“Take-out isn’t going to do it. My regular customers don’t like take-out. They like to sit down, relax and eat the food here. So that’s what I’m going to let them do,” she continued.
Friday, protests against the stay home orders took place in at least 11 cities, including Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Diego, according to AFP.
In Los Angeles, hundreds gathered outside the Los Angeles City Hall to demand Gov. Gavin Newsom reopen the state’s economy, Breitbart News reported.
One man addressed the crowd with a bullhorn and urged participants to look around at the turnout.
“This is America! Look at the turnout! Look at all this red, white, and blue. So many people just proud, proud — standing up for the First Amendment. Our forefathers wrote the First Amendment so that this exact thing would not happen,” he said as people cheered.
Friday, Café El Dorado customer Linda Forni, whose husband passed away in November, said it was good for her mental health to visit the diner that only seated about 25 at a time.
“A lot of regulars are older men who are retired and can’t or don’t cook at home and don’t go out anyway to socialize. They come here and go home mainly, and there is a low rate in the county, so I don’t have concerns here,” she explained.
Thursday, Baldridge got an email from the El Dorado County Environmental Management Department asking her not to allow sit-down service despite reports that the county’s coronavirus cases were on the decline.
However, the café owner refused to comply.
“I have to eat. I have to pay my bills. They’re my rights. This is my business and I have the rights to keep it open,” Baldridge stated.
Friday, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office (EDSO) said it did not plan on forcing businesses to close or penalize them for not following the order.
“We will continue to educate them to make smart and responsible decisions for our community. Our goal is to not have to enforce the stay-at-home order through citations,” the EDSO concluded.