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You can, in fact, be cited for not following state health orders

11 Kern County businesses cited by ABC for violating state health orders
David Flynn
Posted at 1:20 PM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 16:25:21-05

(KERO) — The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control said it has cited 11 businesses within Kern County for not complying with statewide health orders relating to COVID-19. The ABC said these businesses could face possible disciplinary action.

The businesses cited by the ABC were cited for reasons such as indoor operations, no masks or social distancing. One business was cited specifically for indoor dining as well as allowing consumption of alcohol in an area not licensed by the ABC.

Businesses that were cited spanned throughout the county, including Bakersfield, Arvin, Delano, Rosamond, Ridgecrest and Taft. The following is a list of the businesses cited:

Taqueria Tampico725 Main St.Delano
Jarritos Y Mariscos Los Junes Y Mexican Food373 Bear Mountain BlvdArvin
Zebra Bar & Grill2763 Sierra Hwy.Rosamond
Los Panchos2309 Brundage LaneBakersfield
Los Panchos2309 Brundage LaneBakersfield
The Bank Sports Lounge431 North St.Taft
Coach's Sports Bar & Grill4470 W Rosamond.Rosamond
Fury's Sports Bar1353 Inyokern Rd.Ridgecrest
Whiskey Barrel2816 Calloway Dr.Bakersfield
Pro Performance Diesel12625 Jomani Dr.Bakersfield

According to the Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control, "The department would rather gain compliance through conversation and in-person visits, however, when a business is not cooperative, then the department will issue a citation and forward the citation to a District Attorney, and move forward with administrative action against a licensee."

The Kern County District Attorney's Office said it has received a few requests from ABC but so far no criminal charges have been filed against restaurant owners or managers.

"We are also cognizant of the unprecedented pressure on businesses like restaurants, and consider the ever-shifting landscape of regulations and rules as factors as to whether it is in the interest of justice to pursue criminal prosecution," the DA's Office said. "Particularly when the State has the ability to enforce its own mandates and can remedy the issue without need for criminal prosecution of business owners.

Data from the state's website shows that citations in Kern County date back to July of 2020. The most recent violation occurred on New Year's Eve.

The ABC said that administrative action can result in placing the license on probation, a suspension, on up to revocation depending on the track record of the business.

Since July 1, ABC agents have visited close to 100,000 businesses statewide and have written around 170 citations.

While ABC is keeping an eye on those going against the state health orders, a coalition of local restaurants is doing what they can to change those orders.

A lawsuit filed by nearly three dozen local restaurants against Governor Gavin Newsom claiming the governor has exceeded his authority by placing a ban on indoor and outdoor dining in an effort to fight surging COVID cases in the state.

While the lawsuit in Kern County is still making its way through the system, similar lawsuits have seen positive results.

In December 2020, a San Diego judge issued an injunction prohibiting a cease-and-desist order from being enforced on strip clubs and San Diego County businesses with restaurant service. The judge said his ruling encompasses all restaurants, not just strip clubs.

The attorney representing the restaurants in the local lawsuit, Thomas Anton, requested an injunction in Kern County but none was given as of yet. At the last hearing, a Kern County judge asked for further details to be assembled in a brief and presented to the court. A new hearing has not yet been scheduled.