Restaurant owners speak out against fines, COVID mandates
Two local restaurant owners recently slapped with lawsuits for operating without valid health permits spoke out against the litigation at the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting Nov. 16.
The county filed lawsuits against the two family-owned restaurants Nov. 8. The eateries’ health permits were revoked last year due to violation of COVID-19 restrictions.
“These two businesses did what they believe they had to in order to survive,” said Danette’s employee Alicia Selby during public comment. “We who work for them are grateful but now they are under attack. Little family-owned establishments being strong-armed by the full force of their county government, which announces that they seek to shut them down until their demands are met.”
Danette’s owner Danette Inman also addressed the board, expressing her opposition to mask and vaccine mandates, urging them to drop the charges against her business.
“You guys are closing me down because I’m not going to wear a mask,” Inman said to the board. “It’s illegal, unpatriotic, unlawful. I have fines from you guys from $300 a day for one month, then it’s $500 a day on the next month. It went to $3,000 flat rate here, then it’s $5,000 flat rate one month, now it’s a $10,000 flat rate. Who … is making up this curve?”
Inman said she will not pay the fines but is more than willing to pay for her restaurant’s license fees.
“I know I need a license to run my business,” Inman said. “We run a clean shop. I don’t mind adhering to that but I will not submit to wearing a mask and unlawful fines. I just ask that you guys to please do away with the fines and the ridiculous (and) frivolous lawsuit at this time.”
Both Danette’s and Apple Bistro have fines totaling more than $180,000.
Apple Bistro owner Jennette Waldow addressed the board during the meeting’s discussion of opposing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s middle and high school in-person student vaccine mandate, which the board voted 4-1 in favor of. Waldow expressed her disappointment in the board, referring to their actions on the mandates.
“We stay open because we care and because of our right,” Waldow said. “It’s not a law; it’s not a mandate. We did not vote on it, you did not vote on it, and yet you are voting us out … you are trying to be bigger than we are. You’re not.”
Selby assured the board the restaurant has only benefitted from staying open, that no harm has come to anyone as a result. She questioned if supervisors were willing to risk employees losing their homes to prove a point on defying the county regulations.
“You will be keeping dads from providing for their families, young couples from making payments for their first home, single moms from feeding their babies and kids from earning enough to make rent,” Selby said.
Many who spoke during public comment and the discussion on the student vaccine mandate supported the restaurant owners’ comments, calling on supervisors to stop targeting the eateries.
Supervisors did not respond to the restaurant owners’ comments at the meeting.
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