As the pandemic slows, several small businesses in Santa Clara County are facing a legal fight for violating COVID-19 restrictions.
Salon Blu is one of six businesses being sued and the owner said he was cited for staying open during the pandemic and not requiring customers to wear masks.
“I’m not the settling type, I'm going to fight them every bit of the way,” said James Griffiths.
He is facing over $20,000 in COVID violation fees plus the legal cost to fight the county.
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He doesn’t think the county was fair in deciding what businesses had to close at the start of the pandemic.
“I'm in the customer service business, if my customers want to get service, I'm not going to tell them how to dress, I'm not going to probe into their medical history, I'm not going to tell them they need to wear a mask,” said Griffiths.
In a statement the county said they’ve worked with many businesses to find a reasonable solution and most of these fines involve repeat offenders, adding that these collection actions are routine.
Recently, the Santa Clara County health officer released data which they believe shows how the lockdown order saved thousands of lives during the last two years.
“I think it's un-American, unconstitutional and simply unfair to simply try to force public businesses to do the county’s bidding,” said Griffiths.
Salon Blu isn’t alone in the fight. The county still has pending lawsuits against five local businesses.
The largest involves Calvary Chapel, who repeatedly went to court to try and block the county lockdown order.
At least two other businesses have now settled with the county out of court. But Salon Blu insists he won’t be cutting any deals.
“I know it’s going to cost me, but im doing this for the rest of my industry and small businesses owners everywhere in this county, cause somebody has to stand up to this county,” said Griffiths.