Los Angeles County sues Covina pub over alleged health order violations

COVINA, Calif. (KABC) -- A downtown Covina pub owned by a man whose dispute with a Los Angeles County health inspector over coronavirus outdoor dining restrictions was recorded on video in December is being sued by the county for allegedly violating emergency health orders.

The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit was brought last Thursday against Bread & Barley Inc., also alleging violations of the Los Angeles County Code and seeking an abatement of a public nuisance. The suit seeks an injunction barring the business from operating in violation of any health orders and allowing inspectors to verify compliance.

"Despite the health order, multiple warnings and citations, and health officer closure order, defendant operated outdoor dining at their restaurant and continued to operate after their public health permit was suspended,'' the suit states.

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After a two-month shutdown due to surging COVID-19 cases, outdoor dining again was allowed in Los Angeles County on Friday but with a new restriction forcing restaurants to turn off or remove from customer seating areas all televisions used for broadcast programming.

The proposed abatement order would direct the business to take corrective actions. The suit also asks that the pub pay civil penalties for each day management allegedly operated in violation of the health orders and the County Code.

Outdoor dining in Los Angeles County is permitted again as of last Friday.

City News Service could not reach pub owner Luis Carlos Roman for a comment.

A video posted on YouTube and taken Dec. 20 depicts a female police officer beckoning Roman to move his truck, which was parked behind the car of a health inspector. The inspector was conducting a follow-up visit and observed outdoor dining operations at the Citrus Avenue business in violation of the health order, according the suit.

"While conducting the inspection, the public health inspector was confronted by Roman ... who began threatening and cursing at the public health inspector,'' the suit states.

Bread & Barley's public health permit was suspended for non-compliance with the health order, the suit states.

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A Sherman Oaks restaurant owner who posted an emotional video on social media last year expressing her anger and frustration over restrictions on outdoor dining welcomed back customers for a sit-down meal Saturday.

On Dec. 22, a closure notice was posted on the pub's front door, but the next day an inspector saw customers lined up near the entrance leaving with takeout items only, the suit states.

The inspector observed tables were still set up for outdoor dining, but no customers were eating on site, the suit states. Both a citation and a written directive instructing Bread & Barley of needed corrective action required were issued, the suit states.

On Jan. 12, the county sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bread & Barley, demanding immediate compliance with the health order and that operations cease, the suit states. Bread & Barley's public health permit was revoked Jan. 13 and a written notice ordered that all restaurant operations cease, according to the suit.

Bread & Barley operated outdoor dining from at least Dec. 7-20, and operated on a suspended and/or revoked public health permit on a daily basis from at least Dec. 20 to Jan. 13, according to the complaint.
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