By Marissa Perlman

GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) — After falling back to the most-restrictive purple tier, some Nevada County restaurants are fighting back with a lawsuit.

Between new tier restrictions and rain, some Grass Valley restaurants are living the cliché, “When it rains, it pours.”

Mother-daughter restaurant team Angie and Susie Purdy at Tofanelli’s Restaurant in Grass Valley were ready for the rain.

Susie Purdy said, “We are survivors, we are surviving!”

“We were already putting things in place so we could do business through the winter,” said Angie Purdy.

They’ve been building an outdoor oasis they call their “superstructure” for six months, with heaters and a tent over their patio. They quickly got it up and running after Gov. Gavin Newsom shut down indoor dining in most counties.

“It’s been a huge struggle,” said Angie Purdy.

They say the tier change didn’t surprise them, but the short 24 hours restaurants had to move everything outside, did. Thankfully, they were ready.

“When he said it, I knew it was coming, I was hoping it wouldn’t, but we pretty much knew,” said Susie Purdy.

But not everyone was so prepared to be hit with rain, restrictions and a 24-hour deadline, all at once.

“I have talked to a few of the other local restaurants, and yes, they are freaking out,” said Angie Purdy.

A group of restaurant owners in Nevada County is now suing the governor and the County Board of Supervisors, saying the COVID-19 restrictions violate their right to work. They’re now seeking monetary damages.

But how would a case like this against the state and county hold up in court? A constitutional law expert says the odds are in favor of the governor and the county, who have the authority to protect public health.

“The state has ample authority to close businesses if that poses a public health risk,” said John Myers, with the McGeorge School of Law. “It’s not unamerican, it’s not a violation of people’s rights, it’s the sovereign authority to protect the health and safety of the people.”

The Purdy’s are not a part of the lawsuit, but they did join the group to support other mom and pop businesses and worry about their community coming down with the rain.

“They could lose everything they have because of this,” said Susie Purdy.

The coalition says it has 11 members but is hoping to add more.

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Marissa Perlman

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