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COVID: Wine Country Business Coalition Sues Gov. Newsom Demanding To Reopen

NAPA (KPIX) -- Governor Gavin Newsom is facing another lawsuit for actions he has taken during the pandemic. The Wine Country Coalition for Safe Reopening is demanding outdoor dining be allowed to open. Businesses say they need at least the outdoor dining to open to stay afloat.

Terry Letson, the Chef and Owner Fume Bistro says, "We're getting desperate for more business."

Letson's Bistro in Napa is struggling as the latest stay at home order has forced him to shut down all outdoor dining.

"We close the outside and we're just not making it," says Letson.

Letson has joined the Wine Country Coalition for Safe Reopening to take legal action against the Governor.

Carl Dene with the Brannan Cottage Inn in Calistoga organized the effort.

"We've had devastating wildfires this year that we're down the street from the hotel and we lost weeks of business because of that and months of business because of COVID it's been a really bad rollercoaster," says Dene.

Dene feels the ban on outdoor dining is senseless and it's driving businesses to the ground. The lawsuit aims to open outdoor dining again or have the Governor provide proof that it's unsafe.

"They keep saying they're going to base all of their decisions on science and data and they're not at all," says Dene.

In all, more than 50 restaurants and wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties have joined the Coalition to take legal action. For many, this is their last hope to keep their businesses open.

"We're hearing some rumbling of another PPP which would certainly help us but we're digging a deep hole," says Letson.

Dene adds, "Our business will more than double or triple if we can bring outdoor dining back and it's the difference between making it and not making it now."

Tuesday night, Jesse Melgar, a spokesperson for the Governor issued a statement:

We will vigorously defend against this lawsuit challenging public health orders implemented to save lives and prevent the regional medical system from collapsing, so all residents can access lifesaving treatment. We are confident the court will uphold the order, as have numerous courts that have recently considered similar challenges.


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