On the brink of closure, some restaurant owners are demanding money back from government agencies.

Under California’s new stay-at-home order, The Blue Light is back to take-out only and bare-bones staffing, but the bills for state and local licenses keep mounting.

The restaurant owner says as long as he can’t fully operate, those payments should be returned or forgiven — not deferred, and an attorney is in his corner.

“Please forgive licensing fees and permit fees just during this time,” said Johnny Metheny.

Attorney Brian Kabateck said, “We’re gonna file a lawsuit on behalf of all restaurants in California against the state and various counties who have kept their money in order to get the money back.”

Kabateck said while many counties are offering assistance it is not enough. He’s not the only one turning to the court looking for relief for business owners.

In Los Angeles, a legal challenge to the county health department’s ban on outdoor dining has a judge demanding county officials prove it contributes to the spread of COVID-19.

As that case moves forward, attorneys are considering a similar challenge to the state ban on outdoor dining.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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