Restaurant owner sues Newsom, Sacramento County over COVID-19 restrictions

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing another lawsuit over his stay-at-home orders.

This time, business owners in the Sacramento region are banding together to sue the governor, the state public health officer, and Sacramento County, and its health officer, claiming the latest order is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit involves a restaurant, a hair salon and nail salon, who say their industries have been unfairly targeted.

They said they were operating safely and claim there’s not enough evidence to show they were contributing to the spread of the virus.

“It’s demoralizing. There’s no other way to put it. It’s demoralizing,” said Ognian Gavrilov, attorney and owner of the 58 Degrees and Holding Co.

His midtown wine bar and restaurant was shut down again amid a ban on indoor and outdoor dining.

He said he took precautions, investing thousands of dollars in an indoor remodel to accommodate spacing, then outdoor tents, tables and heaters.

“People that are taking it seriously, that are taking measures to protect themselves and others, are being punished, while other industries that have political power are getting a pass,” Gavrilov told FOX40.

He has filed a lawsuit on behalf of his restaurant, Sparkle Nail Bar and Visage Salon, calling for the state and Sacramento County to allow them to reopen.

“Him (Newsom) pinning the restaurant, nail industry and hair industry to ICU capacity was just a political stunt because it’s not based on any evidence,” Gavrilov claimed.

He said he believes Newsom has not provided adequate scientific data to show that these industries need to close for safety reasons.

FOX40 reached out to the governor’s office and Sacramento County asking for evidence that shows outdoor dining and salons contribute to transmission of COVID-19.

In response, the governor’s office did not provide any numbers, but pointed FOX40 to this response from a recent news conference with Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly:

The stay-at-home order really does guide us to reduce our mixing to reduce our movement as much as we can, and then this is the time that if you want to enjoy a meal from a restaurant or need a restaurant to provide your food and sustenance, that we still have the option of take out.

The lawsuit also cites racial motivations, claiming the rules unfairly target businesses often owned by minorities, such as nail salons.

When asked for a statement about the lawsuit, both the state and county said they could not comment on pending litigation.

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