Napa County forces restaurant to stop in-person dining after defying shutdown order

Fume Bistro co-owner Terry Letson said takeout doesn't provide enough revenue for the restaurant to survive.|

Two days after Napa's Fume Bistro reopened for dine-in service, co-owner Terry Letson was forced to close the restaurant's doors to customers again, the Napa Valley Register reported.

Letson, who defied Napa County's public health order when he reopened Monday, said the county stopped him from allowing patrons to dine at the restaurant. He's returned to offering takeout, but said it won't be enough for the restaurant to survive the shutdown.

"The bottom line is (the county was) able to stop us,” Letson told the Register. “We still do our take-out. But that's not going to pay the bills.”

Restaurants who defy the State of California's

public health order could lose their liquor license, but Letson said that's not what Napa County did. He didn't elaborate on how the county ensured he stopped offering sit-down meals.

"The county exerted some extreme pressure for us to stop,” Letson said to the newspaper.

When Letson reopened on Monday, he told the Los Angeles Times that business had dropped 25% in a six-week span. He added that he implemented safety measures before reopening, including setting tables 10 feet apart, checking employees' temperatures and cutting capacity in about half.

Fume Bistro isn't the only Napa business to reopen amid the shutdown. The Quent Cordair Fine Art gallery also opened its doors to six patrons at a time. The Napa Valley Register was not able to determine if the gallery also had been forced to close.

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