CARMEL, Calif. — A California restaurant owner is facing criminal charges for allowing customers to sit down and eat during the shutdown.
“I’m still going to stay open, if you want to send a SWAT team and come and cuff me, come on and do it,” Tuck Box owner Jeffrey Letowt told KSBW.
Letowt says he has had enough of California’s stay at home order.
“It is all politics and you don’t have the right to bankrupt me,” he said.
On Wednesday, the District Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges against Letowt for violating the state stay at home order and Monterey County’s shelter in place order by allowing customers to dine-in at his restaurant.
But on Thursday patrons were still coming to dine-in and Letowt was still finding them a seat.
“If we need to take additional action to secure compliance then we will do that,” said Deputy DA Emily Hickok.
Hickok says Letowt could face civil liability by continuing to stay open. His three misdemeanor charges already carry the possibility of $3,000 in fines and up to a year and a half in jail.
“It would be in the judge’s discretion to come up with the penalty, but that is a possibility, yes,” Hickok said.
Letowt says it should be the county paying him for the estimated $60,000 in lost revenue he suffered closing his doors at the beginning of the shutdown.
“My constitutional rights are being violated, my first and fifth. I don’t know. I shouldn’t have to suffer financial hardship because of this,” he said.
Letowt said he was unable to pay the rent for his restaurant or the mortgage and property taxes for his home because of his losses.
He said he plans to stay open unless police arrest him.
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