VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - The Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of dismissing five lawsuits against local businesses that refused to comply with COVID-19 health orders.
In a joint statement on behalf of the Board of Supervisors, Chair Linda Parks stated, “The lawsuits were never meant to be punitive but rather to gain compliance with Public Health Orders. This act of good will is in concert with the loosening of indoor restrictions accompanying the county’s move into the red tier. We extend our deep appreciation and thanks to all businesses that have worked so hard and continue to work hard to keep their employees and customers safe from COVID by following public health guidelines. It’s crucial that all businesses follow the state issued guidance so that we can all continue to move forward. We want to make sure we all work together to protect lives and to continue reopening our county.”
The county filed these lawsuits earlier in the pandemic after several gyms and restaurants refused to close their doors during a local surge in cases.
Those five businesses were Colosseum Bootcamp in Oxnard, House of Gains in Port Hueneme, Mrs. Olson's Coffee Hut in Oxnard, Westlake Fitness in Thousand Oaks and the Original Pizza Cookery in Thousand Oaks.
“They offered us no money to be shut down, and there is no end in sight to when the shut down will be over. This took place 22 days before Christmas so, I decided to take a stand and open up,” said the owner of Mrs. Olson’s Coffee Hut.
Many of the businesses told our newsroom that, if they hadn't remained open, they would have shut down for good.
In light of their recent decision, the Board of Supervisors said they are aware of the serious impact closures have had on businesses in the community. The board initially committed more than $120 million in community support to help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. As COVID-19 health orders continued to restrict local businesses, the Board of Supervisors committed another $20 million dollars in business assistance grants.
"Throughout the pandemic, the overwhelming majority of businesses have worked hard to protect our communities through observance of public health orders," the county said in a release. "These businesses have been innovative, reinventing how they do business and also offering a safe place for their employees and customers. These businesses have shown the grit and community spirit that has shined bright through the disasters we have faced."