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Ventura County drops last remaining COVID lawsuits

By   /   Wednesday, March 17th, 2021  /   Comments Off on Ventura County drops last remaining COVID lawsuits

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Matt Brimigion, the owner of Mrs. Olson’s Coffee Hut, at his restaurant in Oxnard. Ventura County has dropped lawsuits against Mrs. Olson’s and four other businesses. (file photo)

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has voted to dismiss the county’s remaining five lawsuits against businesses that were not complying with COVID-19 regulations.

The county brought lawsuits against 13 gyms and restaurants earlier this year when it found those businesses holding indoor or outdoor operations against local and state health orders. It dropped eight of those lawsuits in February, when the state cancelled its stay-home order and went back to the tiered system, which allowed for outdoor dining, but it maintained five lawsuits against businesses that had been operating indoors.

“The lawsuits were never meant to be punitive but rather to gain compliance with public health orders,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Linda Parks in a press statement. “This act of good will is in concert with the loosening of indoor restrictions accompanying the county’s move into the red tier. We extend our deep appreciation and thanks to all businesses that have worked so hard and continue to work hard to keep their employees and customers safe from COVID by following public health guidelines. It’s crucial that all businesses follow the state issued guidance so that we can all continue to move forward. We want to make sure we all work together to protect lives and to continue reopening our county.”

Businesses that faced lawsuits also faced other punitive actions, and it’s unclear if the county also reversed those actions when they dropped the lawsuits. As of March 17, the county’s Environmental Health webpage still showed that the permits of two restaurants named in the recently dropped lawsuits—Mrs. Olson’s Coffee Hut in Oxnard and The Original Pizza Cookery in Thousand Oaks—still had their permits suspended as a result of the business’ actions in regards to the health orders.

Other restaurants that were also being sued by the county, like Allison’s Country Café and Good Morning Café, had their permits restored after the county determined them to be in compliance with local health orders.

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Staff Writer at Pacific Coast Business Times, Inc.