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Liberty, Pandemic, and Hindsight for the NEXT Quarantine

Posted by Joseph Tully | Jun 28, 2021

Finally, California is back open – until next time!

Over the past year, COVID-19 wreaked havoc on families, businesses, and the country.  A number of drastic measures were imposed by all levels of government during the crisis. Our firm represented a number of clients and their businesses as they stood up to government overreach, and fought for prudent, science-based, and Constitutional measures.

Here, we share the arguments we filed representing businesses impacted by the lock-down orders.

The county claimed to implement the restrictions outlined in the State's December 3, 2020, Regional Stay at Home Order, the provisions of which were set to go into effect on December 5, 2020; in regions where the adult ICU capacity fell below 15%. However, the county enacted its December 4, 2020, Order and prematurely made it effective on December 6, 2020, while the county's adult ICU capacity was at 25.8% and the Bay area Region adult ICU capacity was at 20.3%. Further, the county failed to provide any data that linked outdoor dining, in Contra Costa County, to the spread of COVID-19.

Hopefully, the work we did in motions and in court can inform the public for the next pandemic.

By sharing these documents publicly, perhaps the public and attorneys can get ahead of any future restrictions on our liberty that are not based on good science and sound law.

In our opposition to the County, we cite many sources showing the County's order had no substantial relation to curbing COVID-19 infections or preserving the ICU bed capacity. Thus, Contra Costa County went far beyond what was reasonably required for the protection of the public. Some of the sources are State experts delivering facts, and we also looked at Chicago, Illinois and their patio dining safety statistics. We even turned the County's own previous statements back on them.

Governments must have a rational basis for restrictions imposed during an emergency. Measures can be taken in the name of “safety”, but the government must show by clear and compelling evidence that they are the least restrictive means of protecting the public's health. They must also be based in reason, and can't be irrational or based on speculation.

Tully & Weiss was hired by several East Bay restaurants, lead by Corey Katz of Bar Cava Wine Bar in Martinez. In December 2020, we united to push back against a ban on OUTDOOR dining. Dining outdoors was a feature helping keep many restaurants solvent whilst indoor dining was banned. Not every restaurant can deliver their expected level of service via take-out.

“We're just not doing it for ourselves. We're doing this for the whole entire restaurant industry. We support wearing masks. We support doing social distancing and we just want people to know that, that we're not trying to be greedy. We're trying to fight for our constitutional right to survive,” Katz said.

The ban on outdoor dining came just a month after Gov. Gavin Newsom was spotted dining indoors at the French Laundry with lobbyist.

The firm's Nathan Dondi on the news explaining the case to CBS 5. “Orders in Contra Costa County that are mandating outdoor dining to close are purely based on speculation. A lot of the data that the county has provided does not show any relation to Contra Costa County,” Dondi said.

At the end of the day, the judge sided with the County. We lost in front of the judge, but I think the average person, who took the time to look through our motion and read our exhibits which are based in science, would say that we should have won.

What do you think?

About the Author

Joseph Tully

Founding Partner, Criminal Law Specialist Our founding attorney, Joseph Tully, is sought out for his expert legal advice throughout California. With over 20 years of experience as a criminal lawyer, in 1000+ felony and other cases, Tully served as felony trial counsel as a public defender before...