Los Angeles County sues Covina pub for alleged violation of COVID-19 health order

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 captured on video in December is being sued by the county for allegedly violating emergency health orders.

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

“Despite the health order, multiple warnings and citations, and the health worker’s shutdown order, the defendant hosted al fresco dining at his restaurant and continued to operate after his license was suspended. public health,” the lawsuit says.

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The proposed reduction order would order the company to take corrective action. The lawsuit also asks that the pub pay civil penalties for each day management allegedly operated in violation of health orders and county code.

Outdoor dining in Los Angeles County has been permitted again since last Friday.

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

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

“During the inspection, the public health inspector was confronted by Roman … who began to threaten and insult the public health inspector,” the lawsuit states.

Bread & Barley’s public health license was suspended for failing to comply with the health order, the suit says.

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On December 22, a closure notice was posted on the front door of the pub, but the next day an inspector saw customers lined up near the entrance leaving with take-out only, the suit says.

The inspector observed that tables were still set up for outdoor dining, but no customers were eating there, the suit states. A citation and written directive advising Bread & Barley of the necessary corrective action has been issued, the suit says.

On Jan. 12, the county sent a cease and desist letter to Bread & Barley, demanding immediate compliance with the health order and cessation of operations, the suit says. Bread & Barley’s public health license was revoked Jan. 13 and a written notice ordered all restaurant operations to cease, according to the suit.

Bread & Barley hosted outdoor dining from at least Dec. 7 through Dec. 20 and operated daily with a suspended and/or revoked public health license from Dec. 20 through at least Jan. 13, according to the complaint.

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