A Long Beach restaurant owner who continued to offer outdoor dining despite city coronavirus health orders to the contrary is taking legal action to get her health permit returned.
Dana Tanner, owner and CEO of Restauration on Fourth Street, filed her petition Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court against the city of Long Beach and the Department of Health and Human Services.
“The city of Long Beach public health data provides no support for the shutdown of outdoor restaurant operations,” the petition states. “There is no reliable data which tracks the spread of COVID-19 in restaurant settings
that provide for only take out or delivery as opposed to outdoor dining only.”
Allowing major retailers and manufacturers to remain open while restricting restaurants to takeout or delivery order only is “without justification and is arbitrary (and) capricious…,” the petition alleges.
A representative for the Long Beach City Attorney’s Office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
A city health inspector cleared the restaurant of any violations during a Jan. 8 visit, but then returned an hour later, according to the petition.
“The inspector stated he saw two people in the back patio area, without masks on, and immediately posted a notice of closure on the door and left,” the petition states.
On Jan. 15, the city sent Tanner a notice of an administrative hearing to discuss alleged violations observed by the inspector, according to the petition.
The petition alleges the hearing was conducted in an unfair manner because her attorney was not allowed to fully cross-examine a key city witness nor provide argument over the evidence presented. The city emailed Tanner a notice on Jan. 22 that her health permit was being immediately revoked, four days before the city began allowing outdoor dining at city restaurant to resume, according to the petition.
Tanner has defended her decision to continue offering outdoor dining.
“We’re here to make food for people,” she told reporters. “I’m here to keep people employed and I’m here to pay my bills. If I can do that safely, and I know in my heart I can, like, I will.”
Tanner also alleged that she and her employees have received serious threats from the public.
“I have had death threats,” Tanner said, according to ABC7. “My servers have been threatened. People call here and go like, ‘I hope you have fire insurance because you’re going to get firebombed’ or ‘I hope you die of COVID.”’