By Laura Haefeli

PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — Apple Bistro and Danette’s Brick Oven Pub in Placerville are facing consequences from El Dorado County after continuing to operate through the pandemic.

“It’s unfair to the other restaurants that are following through,” said Placerville resident Michelle Chaidez.

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Owners of Apple Bistro can be seen in a video refusing to let people from California’s Division of Occupation Safety and Health (Cal OSHA) and California Highway Patrol officers inside with a warrant for an inspection.

While both restaurants continued to deliberately defy public health guidelines, El Dorado County says it was forced to file a lawsuit in superior court.

The complaint reads, in part:

“As defendants have defied orders to close, and most recently ignored a cease-and-desist letter made in a final effort to avoid filling this action, the county has no choice.”

The complaint requests a judge’s permission to forcibly shut the restaurants down.

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So, what could this mean for their future?

“Looking at the pleadings, which are supported by the law and the facts, this could go to court very quickly. If the court is persuaded, then the judge issues orders that the sheriff enforces the injunction. They physically board up the business so people can’t enter,” said UC Hastings Law Professor John Myers.

The complaint states El Dorado County is concerned about unsafe food.

County health inspections are done twice a year, but El Dorado County doesn’t inspect unpermitted or illegal restaurants. Apple Bistro hasn’t been inspected since November 2019 and Danette’s hasn’t been inspected since January 2020.

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The complaint states that neither business owner has appeared at any court proceedings thus far. Myers says if they neglect to appear in court, it’s an easy win for the county and it could be just a matter of days before the sheriff boards up the businesses.