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San Mateo County takes legal action against business owner who held mask-less classes

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PACIFICA, Calif. (KRON) – For the first time since the pandemic, San Mateo County is ordering a business to shut down operations starting tomorrow.

A judge ruled in favor of the county in a lawsuit against the owner of Pacifica Beach Yoga for defying health orders and operating maskless indoor classes.

KRON4 first told you about this Pacifica yoga studio not complying with health orders in October.

Following many visits, warnings and fines, this business owner blatantly continued to operate classes indoors, without masks and in a confined space with no social distancing.

Now he’s forced to close down Friday and if he doesn’t, the D.A. will get involved with criminal charges.

A new court order forces Pacifica Beach Yoga on Oceana Boulevard to close its doors.

This comes after business owner Thomas Antoon refused to comply with county health orders, despite dozens of visits, warnings, and thousands of dollars in fines.

Supervisor David Canepa says this is the first time the county’s had to take legal action.

“It saddens me we had to take it to this level but obviously the operator thought he was above the law,” Canepa said.

On Thursday, a judge ruled in favor of San Mateo County in a lawsuit against Antoon for defying health orders, operating indoor maskless classes with no social distancing.

“He’s continuing to have people to do yoga poses, not wearing masks in a confined area which is just mind-boggling, and then what he says is hey I’m not going to pay the fines, I’m going to continue to do this while our ICU capacity at one time was off the charts and while in the last two weeks our covid deaths in San Mateo County have hit 76 deaths,” Canepa said.

In October KRON4 learned the owner was not enforcing mask-wearing or social distancing, in fact, he made fun of others who followed the city and state guidelines.

In a Facebook post he made, it advertised maskless classes with hastags “mask free,” “fearfree,” “virusfree,” and “cowardfree.

Since then, the county received 26 complaints against the yoga studio. Meanwhile, it continued to host reckless classes after a regional stay-at-home order forced fitness centers to close indoor operations.

If the owner doesn’t shut down this time, he could face jail time.

“The business owner has to shut down. If he does not shut down then our DA will be immediately involved,” Canepa said.

KRON4 tried to reach the owner for comment but haven’t heard back yet.

While this is the first time the county’s had to take it this far, county leaders are making a statement here to business owner who refuse to complytime and time again jeopardizing the health of others.

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