The City of Anchorage on Saturday requested a contemptuous trial after a local eatery defied the judge’s ruling to suspend in-house dining.
The City’s motion to ask the judge in the event of “extraordinary remedies of contemptuous sanctions” against the restaurant, Kriner Diner and its owners. The city move also accused the restaurant’s lawyer, Blake Quackenbush, of “actively encouraging and participating in the ongoing violation” and arguing that he should be sanctioned by the court.
In his order on Friday, State Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth wrote that the public would suffer “irreparable harm” if businesses like Kriner were allowed to violate the city’s 15 Emergency Order. , last week blocked in-house dining at restaurants and breweries. The city’s command is aimed at restraining the spread of coronavirus.
On Saturday morning, Kriner’s Diner opens, with a long line of customers waiting outside. The restaurant has been crowded all week with diners supporting a stance against the city order.
“We are deeply disappointed that they continue to choose to circumvent the law when they have had the attention of the superior court and may have a court date to bring their case that the emergency order is not in effect, ”A text by Carolyn said Hall, spokesman for the city.
“The notion that Kriner should be immune to emergency orders issued to protect the health and safety of our community ignores the fact that most people in Anchorage are suffering: Our children are not in direct school; Our defendants are not on jury trial; Our grandparents in assisted living homes were trapped inside waiting for the rest of us to arrive in the community safe enough for them to hug their grandchildren; and our epidemiologists and hospitals have warned that we may run out of ICU beds next month if the July trend continues, ”the statement said. “In this new world, as virus transmission in the community is spreading, our residents expect leaders to take the necessary actions to protect lives and health in the community, This includes asking this diner to temporarily rotate its pivots for food delivery, delivery and outdoor dining. ”
The diner was represented by Blake Fulton Quackenbush’s lawyer Quackenbush.
“We have a great client with a great business and we have no further comment right now,” said Katie Payton, the company’s administrator on Saturday night after submitting the application. of the city
Andy Kriner, who owns the diner along with Norann Kriner, was unable to immediately comment on Saturday night after the city submitted the application.
During Friday’s trial, Quackenbush argued that the city also failed to provide any evidence that Kriner’s Diner business contributed to the spread of COVID-19.
Quackenbush argued that the emergency order violates the Alaskan Constitution because it deprives the Krinerers of the right to work. He also said that the city is giving the Kriner and other restaurant owners “different treatment and inequality.” Other recruiters running similar businesses where wearing an unobservable mask, such as a gym, have not been similarly shut down, he said.
City attorney Kate Vogel said at a community briefing on Friday afternoon that “if someone wants to challenge the constitutionality of the law, of course they have the right to do so, but they have no right to disobey. while waiting for the judgment of the court. “
In the past, Kriner raised the issue with the idea that opening a restaurant would endanger public health.
“If I think I’m endangering anyone, I won’t open it. I just don’t believe I have, ”he told Daily News last week.
Earlier on Saturday, Kriner said he would lose half of the restaurant’s sales if he just went take-out. He said, “It will only be a slow, quiet death in the restaurant business if all you do is make a profit. In the end you won’t make it. “
In Saturday’s scorn, the city attorneys said they were not seeking to jail the defendants. Instead, they want to ensure that the restaurant stops its in-house food service “to protect the health and safety of Anchorage residents.” According to the petition, the defendants “intentionally suffered” a $ 600 city fine per day. But that’s not enough, to stop them from running food and drink services, according to the motion.
So the city now wants a fine with a fine of $ 5,000 a day for violating the order, along with other fines.
The petition claimed that Kriner was aware of the judge’s ruling, but continued to serve indoors, based on an interview posted to Facebook on Saturday.
The city said that Krinerer’s attorney, Quackenbush, “is actively encouraging and participating in the ongoing violation.” The lawyer posted a video to a Facebook group on Saturday showing a crowded eatery with the caption “Americans peacefully protested in a historic ‘sit-in-place’! Breakfast is already served. “
Quackenbush also commented on the post, according to the profile, saying “We have the right to work and support our families and communities. Please, if you’re healthy, go out and go businesses and encourage businesses to have the courage to work. It is crazy to think we are fighting for the right to work and support our families! ”
At the city’s petition on Saturday, a city attorney called Quackenbush on Friday after hearing that Kriner was continuing to serve dinner in defiance of orders and “advised him to tell his client to obey. by court order. ” Quackenbush said he hadn’t seen the order yet, the records said, so the lawyer sent him a copy. He replied that he told his client to follow orders, follow movements.
However, the profile says based on Saturday’s social media posts, “Quackenbush is actively working to sabotage the Court Order and EO-15, although he admits that he It is his duty to notify his customers of not breaking the law. “
The city is looking for a fine for Quackenbush as decided by the Court, the motion said, because of his “shocking behavior”.
By posting videos from inside the diner and posting confirmation Kriner “intentionally disobeyed a court order”, Quackenbush “intentionally violated” a Court order, an emergency order and the Alaska Professional Code of Conduct, according to the profile.
In addition, he “insisted on encouraging others to commit acts he knew were illegal.”
His follow-up comments on the post found Quackenbush “intentionally assisting or inducing his clients and others to violate or attempt to violate the Court Order”, as suggested, punishable.
Asked about Friday’s court decision at a late-day community briefing, Berkowitz said in a brief Friday it was a “heavy day” and he wasn’t happy with the decision. This is because Alaskans can resolve the issues without resorting to lawsuits.
“I think the importance of being able to protect public health through these public health orders is so important that the law must apply to everyone,” he said. “And if we want it to be as effective as possible, everyone needs to adhere to it.”
Response to the city’s pandemic policies is increasing. Anchorage health experts say the risk of the pandemic is also on the rise.
Berkowitz said he wanted to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases with collective efforts, to remove some restrictions. The mayor said he was very pleased by the majority of businesses obey the order.
“I know it’s easy to keep track of exceptions and that’s what happened,” he said. “And they’ve received a disproportionate amount of publicity for what they’re doing.”
The mayor said indoor eating is considered “high-risk behavior,” according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and said if the city and country have the ability to trace the link. better yet, they will be able to precisely close certain businesses. Instead, they make “broad decisions,” based on what’s known to be high-risk, until they know more.
“The people who are politicizing the response to the pandemic are actually endangering public health,” Berkowitz said. “And they’re also putting our economy at great risk, and they are responsible for that. There is no partisan interest in making people sick and prolonging the pandemic.