Cheetahs strip club in Kearny Mesa. Image via cheetahssd.com

A San Diego Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that the state and county are prohibited from enforcing California’s regional stay-at-home order against two San Diego strip clubs and potentially restaurants as well.

Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil, who previously granted a similar temporary restraining order for Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club and Pacers Showgirls International, wrote in a nine-page order that the state of California and San Diego County have not provided evidence tying the spread of COVID-19 or lack of ICU bed capacity to live adult entertainment or businesses with restaurant service.

The county issued a statement Wednesday night announcing it was suspending enforcement of relevant portions of the order until it has clarity about the scope of the ruling.

The ruling comes after the clubs recently received cease-and-desist letters from the California Attorney General’s Office, which stated Cheetahs and Pacers were operating in violation of the Dec. 3 stay-at-home policy barring outdoor and indoor dining, as well as large gatherings.

Attorney Jason Sacuzzo, who represents Pacers, argued there hasn’t been a single case of COVID-19 transmission traced to either club since Wohlfeil issued the temporary restraining order in early November, a claim Wohlfeil referenced in his ruling.

Deputy Attorney General Patty Li, representing the state, argued Wednesday that the condition of the virus has changed since Wohlfeil’s initial ruling, citing increased COVID-19 case and death numbers, as well as a reduction in ICU capacity in the Southern California region, which she said was currently at 0.5%.

The ruling is at odds with another San Diego judge’s finding in a separate case that denied a request from local restaurants and gyms to reopen. A hearing on the request for a preliminary injunction in that case is slated for Friday afternoon.

Updated at 9:15 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020

— City News Service

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