El Dorado County court prohibits Placerville eatery from operating

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — On Friday, Feb. 18, the El Dorado County Superior Court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting all operations relating to Apple Bistro until a health permit is obtained.

Under state law and local County ordinances meant to safeguard the public, all restaurants in the County must have a health permit to operate. Since July 2020, owners/operators Jennette Waldow and her company, International Farmers Kitchen LLC, have been operating Apple Bistro, a restaurant located at 2740 U.S. Highway 50 in Placerville, without a permit.

In September 2020 the County provided Apple Bistro with $22,736 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act monies to offset the costs of the impact of COVID-19 mandates. In Nov. 2021, the County filed a lawsuit seeking an order from the El Dorado County Superior Court requiring Apple Bistro to close until the owners obtained a permit.

The County issues health permits to more than 800 facilities. Only three restaurants – Apple Bistro, Danette’s Brick Oven Pub and El Dorado Café – operated outside the State’s COVID-19 mandate, resulting in their health permits being suspended or revoked. Danette’s Brick Oven Pub and El Dorado Café worked with the County to resolve all issues and obtain the required permits.

The injunction applies not only to Ms. Waldow and her company, but also, their “agents, employees, representatives, and all persons acting under, in concert with, or for them.” The injunction is effective immediately and remains in place until trial in the lawsuit, which has not yet been scheduled. A trial setting conference is scheduled to take place on March 14, 2022.

The County has made it clear to the owners of Apple Bistro that to obtain a permit they would need to take the following steps: (1) fill out a new permit application; (2) make a $2,313 payment, which is a mandatory penalty for operating a restaurant without a permit under California Health and Safety Code § 114387; (3) allow the County to perform a routine health inspection of the restaurant; and (4) as with all restaurant inspections, correct any health violations identified during the inspection. The County pursued the preliminary injunction after the owners failed to take any of these steps.

Separately, the County’s lawsuit requests that the Court assess fines of up to $500 per day for operating Apple Bistro without a permit in an amount to be determined at trial. Although the County has not waived these fines, it has thus far not required Apple Bistro to pay these separate fines in order to obtain a permit.

Source: El Dorado County

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