The city of Burbank, California put up a fence around a local restaurant, Tinhorn Flats Saloon & Grill, that has repeatedly violated county health orders during the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday.
The city received permission from a judge to shut the business’ power off, and secured a preliminary injunction Friday to prevent the site from operating without a county health permit and a city conditional use permit. The city had previously placed sandbags outside of the business in an attempt to keep it closed. They had also padlocked the door and arrested one of the co-owners, Lucas Lepejian, Baret Lepejian’s son, three times, but the restaurant stayed open using its own generator.
Locals of Burbank, on both sides of the issue, have formed crowds of dozens of protesters over the restaurant’s closure. This has strained police resources, according to Police Lt. Derek Green. The restaurant has racked up nearly $50,000 in fines since the start of the pandemic, as a result of violating public health orders by allowing outdoor dining when it was banned in the county.
Baret Lepejian, the owner of the business, told the Times he will not pay the fines. “Show me one shred of evidence how I am endangering the public,” he told the newspaper. “This has never been about safety or the public. It’s never been about that. This whole thing is about fear and control,” he said. Lucas Lepejian set up a GoFundMe page to help with legal bills, and since it was created on March 2, the campaign has raised more than $76,000 from 1,600 donors. Citizens continue to advocate for and peacefully protest on behalf of the Burbank restaurant.
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ARTICLE: EMILY HINES
US NEWS EDITOR: CARSON WOLF
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK POST
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