A group of more than 50 wineries and restaurants across Napa and Sonoma counties are suing to overturn a state ban on in-person dining, saying their constitutional rights are being trampled as they slip into financial ruin.

It’s the latest litigation brought over the restrictions that have blanketed much of the state since early December, when coronavirus cases began skyrocketing.

The Wine Country Coalition for Safe Reopening filed the suit Tuesday against Gov. Gavin Newsom. It arrives just over a month after intensive care unit capacity dipped below 15% in the San Francisco Bay Area, triggering a regional order that shut down outdoor dining — and drinking — among other restrictions. Tomás Aragón, director of the California Public Health Department, is also named in the lawsuit.

The coalition alleges that the governor and the state public health department have not provided scientific evidence showing that outdoor dining is more dangerous than other permitted activities, such as shopping in indoor malls and working on film sets. Citing uneven application of the restrictions, the group claims the state is violating equal protection laws afforded by the California Constitution, among other violations.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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