Wine Country Coalition for Safe Reopening announces the dismissal after Governor Newsom lifted the Bay Area’s stay at home order, allowing for outdoor dining and wine tasting to resume; says it is “ready to refile” if the ban is imposed again
Calistoga, CA, January 28, 2021 — The Wine Country Coalition for Safe Reopening (the “Coalition”) announced today the voluntary dismissal without prejudice of its January 19, 2021 lawsuit against Governor Gavin Newsom and California State Public Health Officer Tomás J. Aragón. The lawsuit alleged that the state’s ban on outdoor dining and wine tasting was arbitrary, irrational, and unfair and brought “devastating” effects on local businesses and the thousands of workers who lost their jobs.
At the time the Coalition filed its suit, all outdoor dining and wine tasting was banned in the Bay Area, including Napa and Sonoma counties, where most Coalition members are located. Previously, Coalition members had collectively invested millions of dollars to comply with prior regulations and operate outdoors safely for their customers and employees. But California imposed a new blanket ban on outdoor dining, even while it continued to allow retailers like big box stores to operate in much riskier indoor settings. The Coalition asserted that the ban was causing long-term economic hardship especially on their employees, who were forced to undergo countless layoffs and furloughs as restaurants and wineries closed permanently around the region.
Just six days after the Coalition filed its suit, Governor Newsom lifted the state’s stay-at-home order, thus ending for now the ban on outdoor dining and wine tasting. Achieving its goal, the Coalition decided to dismiss its lawsuit, but left open the possibility of filing the suit again if needed.
“We were gratified that the Governor ended this needless ban on outdoor dining and wine tasting, but we will be ready to refile our lawsuit if the ban is imposed again,” said Carl Dene of Sam’s General Store and Spokesperson for the Coalition. “We support all efforts to limit the spread of COVID, but there is simply no data that shows outdoor dining and wine tasting contribute to the spread, so we are happy to see the Governor following the science.”
Coalition members scrambled to open their outdoor dining and wine tasting areas on Monday, January 25 after the news was announced.
“Our first order of business, before even deciding what to do next with our lawsuit, was getting our employees back to work so that we could resume serving our patrons safely,” said Cynthia Ariosta of Pizzeria Tra Vigne and Spokesperson for the Coalition. “All of us are dedicated to protecting our employees’ and customers’ health and welfare, and the investments we had
already made to our outdoor dining areas fortunately allowed us to reopen quickly and safely. We are just gratified that we can return to our work and to serving our communities”
About the Wine County Coalition
The Wine Country Coalition for Safe Reopening is an unincorporated association headquartered in Calistoga, California. Formed in December 2020, its members include over 60 Napa and Sonoma County restaurants, wineries, suppliers, and related businesses that are committed to safe service to their community. These local businesses aim to fight misinformation surrounding outdoor dining, any state prohibitions on outdoor dining built on that misinformation, and the serious harm those prohibitions cause their employees and the industry. The members are dedicated to protecting their employees’ and customers’ health and welfare and have collectively and continuously invested millions of dollars to be able to serve their customers safely.
The Wine Country Coalition includes the following businesses: Indian Springs Resort, Brannan Cottage Inn and adjoining café Sam’s General Store, Tre Posti, Costeaux French Bakery, Amizetta winery, Trancas Steakhouse, AVOW, Quilt & Co., Fumé Bistro, Lovina restaurant, The Calistoga Inn Restaurant and Brewery, Panorama Baking, Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, Biagio Artisan Meats, Farmhouse Inn, Vaughn Duffy Wines, Olabisi Wines, Pizzeria Tra Vigne, and others. More information about these businesses and the Coalition can be found on its website: http://winecountrycoalitionforsafereopening.com.