Local lawyer and 19 restaurants team up to sue Governor Newsom

Coronavirus

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – The state’s stay at home order went into effect last night. Local restaurants are banding together to stay open. The governor’s decision puts restaurants in a tough position – some might not survive the shutdown. That’s why more than a dozen of them have decided to sue the governor.

Some restaurants are following the governor’s stay at home order and closing their doors. Others are pushing back. Nineteen local restaurants plan to sue Governor Gavin Newsom. Attorney Thomas Anton represents these restaurants.

“If this goes on, you’re going to see a lot of businesses close and a lot never reopen again,” Thomas Anton said.

Back in April – he said the first stay at home order was constitutional. But now – he says things have changed.

“We believe the governor has exceeded his authority here. Because he hasn’t provided any alternative or other relief other than simply closing the restaurant putting people out of business and employees in the street.”

He says the governor has acted independently without consulting the legislature – for too long.

“What I have been able to glean from various friends in the legislature is that he hasnt contacted them,” Anton said. “The hasn’t consulted them. And he certainly hasn’t asked for the passage of a law that allows all this.”

The planned suit says Governor Newsom cannot close restaurant business without compensating them. It also says the governor didnt properly consider alternative solutions

“There are alternatives being considered in other states where complete closing is not the only option,”

Cassie Bittle is the owner of KC’s Steakhouse downtown and an organizer of the restaurant group. She says this pandemic has united local restaurants more than ever before

“It’s been really helpful over the past nine months having that camaraderie and the ability to have other people in your industry sector that are trying to go through the same things,” Bittle said.

She says restaurants are following COVID guidelines to keep customers safe.

“We’ve done everything we can do,” Bittle said. “We’ve abided by all the guidelines, all the arbitrary rules our governor keeps putting down. But at this point if you cant show us the data. Show us that we’re being the spread of this disease, then we need to take you to court.”

BPD and KCSO don’t plan on heavily enforcing the stay at home order. Anton says the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control will be the biggest threat to restaurants staying open. Thomas Anton says they’ll file the lawsuit in the next couple of days. He’s hoping to pause the stay at home order until he gets his day in court.

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