REDWOOD CITY (CBS SF) — San Mateo County sued a local yoga studio last week over its refusal to comply with state public health orders issued to decrease the spread of COVID-19. On Friday, a judge granted the county a restraining order against the studio, closing it temporarily.
The county filed its suit against Pacific Beach Yoga last Wednesday for defying state orders that all indoor gyms, fitness centers and yoga studios should be shut down until the state deems the coronavirus under control enough to reopen. Instead, Pacific Beach Yoga held “mask-free” yoga classes and repeatedly ignored requests to close down from county staff.READ MORE: Santa Clara Officials Open COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic At Local Farm
“This business has left us no choice,” said San Mateo County Counsel John Beiers. “Pacifica Beach Yoga has repeatedly, knowingly and flagrantly decided not to follow the rules that other businesses in this county are following. That is dangerous and cannot be allowed to continue.”
The suit, filed in San Mateo County Superior Court, requires Pacifica Beach Yoga to comply with all health orders and stop operating until the state lifts COVID-19 restrictions for the county. It also demands the yoga studio to pay fines it received for its non-compliance. The studio already owes $3,750 in fines — $250 per violation — according to San Mateo County Board President David J. Canepa.
On Friday, San Mateo County Superior Judge Danny Chou granted the county’s request to immediately shut down Pacifica Beach Yoga with a temporary restraining order. The judge also set a hearing on the injunction for Feb. 4 for evaluating the need for the injunction.
The yoga studio is the first business in the county sued over its actions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The studio and its owner, Tommy Antoon, remain defiant online, posting on its Facebook page that the studio was staying open “for the cowards that won’t. Will stay open because we know what’s right will stay open because we do it right we have right.”READ MORE: California Tax Revenues Soar as Rich Get Richer Despite Pandemic
The studio has not commented on the judge’s decision as of Friday afternoon.
The county says it received 26 online complaints about the yoga studio since October. An ordinance the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors passed back in August of last year allows county officers to issue citations for individuals and businesses that violate county health orders.
“We have a simple and clear message here in San Mateo County: Wear your damn mask,” board president David J. Canepa. “It’s not about you. It’s about everyone around you, including your friends, your loved ones and the people you don’t even know who you come in contact with.”
As of Friday, San Mateo County’s health department recorded 33,207 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 309 deaths since the pandemic began.MORE NEWS: Trailers, RVs, Shed Burned at Industrial Yard in Oakland
To learn more about the lawsuit, visit the county’s website.