Restaurant workers file emergency injunction to stop Philadelphia’s COVID-19 dining restrictions

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By KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — More than 2,000 restaurant workers in Philadelphia have filed an emergency injunction in federal court to stop the city’s coronavirus restrictions on indoor dining and other guidelines. They also signed on to a lawsuit against the city.

Attorney Brian Fritz, who is representing the group of restaurant owners, servers, bartenders and chefs, said the restrictions violate constitutional rights, including a lack of due process.

“When you are going to potentially infringe upon the constitutional right of anyone, what you have to do is do this balancing test. Can the goal of the governmental action, can it be achieved through less restrictive means?” he asked.

“The question becomes: Well, how did you determine that restaurants are so dangerous to lock them down, and why are restaurants in Philadelphia so dangerous versus others in Montgomery County, Bucks County, Chester County or Delaware County?” he continued. “How did the city reach these conclusions?

“There was no opportunity to be heard, no opportunity to present their side of things before this decision was made, and yet they have to live with it. So there is a lack of due process there. There is a lack of equal protection under the law, more or less being applied based upon the determination of the city, versus places like Lowe’s, Wawa or Walmarts.”

The restrictions take effect Friday at 5 p.m. Of the most restricting, indoor dining and indoor gatherings are banned until at least New Year’s Day, in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Many restaurant and bar owners have said they fear they won’t last through the winter, and many will inevitably close for good.