LA County Sues Cafe for Violating COVID-19 Restrictions

In a lawsuit against Novo Cafe last week, the Los Angeles County has accused the Italian restaurant, in the city of Westlake Village, of violating COVID-19 health orders and regulations, racking up fines totaling nearly $100,000.

In court documents obtained by The Epoch Times, the county accused Novo Cafe of “putting the health of their workers, customers, and the community at risk.”

Novo Cafe is accused of serving diners both indoors and outdoors despite pandemic restrictions prohibiting it from doing so. The cafe was also accused of operating after its public health permit has been revoked in February 2021, as well as having unmasked staff around customers.

“Last week, the County of Los Angeles filed a lawsuit against Novo Cafe to require compliance with the Health Officer Order. As COVID infections increase, approximately 150 restaurants have reported outbreaks among their staff. It is vitally important that operators of all worksites, including restaurants, to rigorously follow the County’s order that requires workers to wear a surgical or medical grade mask while indoors. We all need to work together to lower the risk of COVID transmission in our community,” a spokesperson for the county told The Epoch Times in an email.

Novo Cafe owner Massimo Forti told the Daily Wire in a Jan. 10 interview that he will not submit to the “illegal mandates” which he deemed “unconstitutional.”

“This fight is about defending our freedoms,” Forti stated, adding that he will not be paying the fines.

Over the past year, the cafe has been issued administrative citations by the LA County Public Health department on 43 counts for violating the health officer order, according to the public health website.

The LA County has also issued violation orders to many other cafes, gyms, schools, and restaurants for breaking COVID-19 rules. One of which, Cronies Sports Grill restaurant in Agoura Hills, was sued by the LA County in January 2021.

According to the City News Service, Cronies paid $10,000 in abatement costs as settlement as well as a $1,375 public health permit fee to reinstate its permit. The restaurant also agreed to pay $25,000 in suspended civil penalties if it breaches the settlement.

The LA County Public Health Department on Jan. 5 issued new masking requirements requiring employees, who work indoors in close contact with others, to be equipped with “well-fitting medical-grade masks, surgical masks, or higher-level respirators, such as N95 or KN95 masks” by Jan. 17.

“These upgraded masks are better at blocking virus particles from going through the mask,” the department stated.

Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said that the “explosive spread” of the virus justifies the mask upgrade as well as “postponing” participation in non-essential activities “until community transmission is much reduced.”

In its Jan. 10 COVID-19 update, the Public Health Department reported “good news” that while hospitalizations continue to climb, more than half of COVID-positive hospitalized patients have been hospitalized for reasons other than COVID-19, but are identified to carry COVID-19 when tested.

As of Jan. 10, there were 13 additional deaths and 43,582 new cases of COVID-19 in the LA County.


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