A judge ruled Friday that the city of Burbank can turn off the electricity at a local bar/restaurant that had continued offering outdoor dining service despite the issuance of a temporary restraining order allowing the city to enforce its closure order.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff handed down the TRO Monday against Barfly Inc., the operating company of the Tinhorn Flats Saloon & Grill on Magnolia Boulevard, but he did not authorize disconnecting the power at that time. However, he changed his mind after the city presented evidence that Tinhorn Flats continued to stay in business.
“In short, Barfly and its agents, employees, and representatives plainly have no intention of ceasing its restaurant operations at Tin Horn Flats, even though the TRO currently in effect expressly prohibits them from any such conduct,” the city’s lawyers stated in their court papers.
Under Friday’s ruling, the city must give the restaurant 24 hours notice before electricity is stopped.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health previously revoked the eatery’s health permit, and the Burbank City Council last month revoked its conditional-use permit.
The judge has scheduled a March 26 hearing on whether the TRO should be extended with a preliminary injunction.
The city maintains the restaurant is an ongoing public nuisance and asked that it be granted permission to padlock the doors and shut off the electricity until the owners bring the establishment into compliance with mandated coronavirus health orders. The city has still not been authorized to padlock the doors.
“Defendants’ continued operations without a public health permit and CUP, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrates defendants’ flagrant flouting of the code, regulations, rules and standards required for health and safety practices in businesses such as restaurants,” the suit states. “Allowing this to go unchecked could embolden other restaurants and facilities to flout the same permit requirements, which would further undermine public health and safety.”
The county and city actions took place after numerous complaints were received about the Tinhorn’s continued offering of outdoor dining on its patio in violation of the applicable health officer orders at a time when such activity was banned in Los Angeles County, according to the suit. The ban was relaxed in late January.
“The vast majority of restaurants did their part and acted as good citizens by complying with these orders, despite the tremendous difficulty and hardship they have suffered as a result,” according to the city’s court papers. “Not everyone has borne the sacrifice willingly.”