California restaurant owner ordered to pay city and perform community service for disobeying COVID orders

Restaurant restaurant owner, who was criminally charged last year after keeping her business open while defying Long Beach’s coronavirus mandates, was ordered to pay restitution to the city and carry out construction work. general interest.

Dana Tanner, 42, was charged last year with 20 misdemeanors relating to coronavirus warrants and allegedly tampering with a neighbor’s gas line after her restaurant’s line was shut down by the city. Tanner kept his restaurant open as coronavirus cases spiked in January 2021, despite warnings from the city.

After struggling with the city for months, the Fourth Street restaurant closed in April.

A judge last week approved Tanner for diversion, opting to dismiss the case if she pays the city about $5,000 for emergency response costs related to the gas pipe incident, performs 40 community service hours and obey all laws, including emergency health orders. . If Tanner follows the judge’s orders, his case could be closed in February 2023.

Long Beach City District Attorney Doug Haubert said Wednesday he believes and hopes this will be the final chapter in the “restoration saga.” The judge handling the case told Tanner what she did was wrong, that no one is above the law, according to Haubert.

“This case happened at a time when hospital emergency rooms were turning away patients,” Haubert said. “Doctors and nurses were exhausted and hospitals could not treat cases. It was the peak of COVID deaths.

The city spent approximately $28,000 on the criminal investigation into Restoration, with the majority of that time spent on code enforcement and police employees.

Last year, Tanner said she kept her restaurant open with precautions to keep the business afloat and support its employees.

Tanner said Wednesday she was relieved the criminal case was over.

“I’m just relieved it got done, I needed it done,” she said. “It’s really emotionally draining.”

Tanner said she appreciated the judge granted her a diversion for her charges and planned to follow orders. She said she recognizes the city was trying to make an example of her for disobeying COVID orders, but still feels like she was treated harder than necessary, like the $100,000 bail. she had to deal with compared to violent offenders who sometimes face less bail amounts. .

“When you talk about keeping the city safe, that’s hypocritical,” she said. “But I know the city was trying to make a point.”

Tanner still lives in Long Beach and works as a bartender. She said she plans to move to Orange County after the ordeal with the city of Long Beach, with no current plans to open another restaurant.

A civil case between Tanner and the City of Long Beach, over the city’s revocation of his health license, was pending.

Jill E. Washington