Restaurant owner who defied COVID-19 rules drops court case against Long Beach

The owner of a Fourth Street restaurant who defied COVID-19 shutdown orders has dropped her court case against Long Beach, in which she asked a judge to force the city to return her health permit and allow her to reopen.

Long Beach pulled Dana Tanner’s permit at Restauration after she refused to shut down in-person dining during the height of the pandemic. Even after in-person dining was allowed to resume, the city continued to issue fines and citations against her for operating without a valid health permit.

In February last year, she went to court, seeking the return of that permit, arguing the process to revoke it had been unfair.

“There is no reliable data which tracks the spread of COVID-19 in restaurant settings that provide for only take out or delivery as opposed to outdoor dining only,” Tanner’s lawyer said in court documents, where he pointed out that major retailers and manufacturers were allowed to stay open even while restaurants were restricted to only pickup or delivery.

This week, Tanner’s attorney asked a judge to dismiss the case. Tanner said she chose not to pursue it any further because she closed Restauration in April and has moved on from Long Beach.

In addition to pulling her health permit, Long Beach charged Tanner with 20 misdemeanors for refusing to shut down Restauration and for using a pirated gas line to keep her kitchen running after the city cut hers off.

In February, a judge agreed to divert the misdemeanor case, essentially sparing her a criminal conviction, if she paid back $5,019.89 to the city of Long Beach and performed 40 hours of community service.

Tanner said she’s completed her community service and believes she’s on track to have the case dismissed. She’s due back in court on Aug. 18.

Restaurant owner says she’s broke after spurning COVID rules; judge agrees to toss charges

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Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram.