Judge orders Pacifica yoga studio that held mask-free classes to shut down
PACIFICA. Calif. - Pacifica Beach Yoga was closed Friday, but it took a court order to enforce the closure.
Studio owner Thomas Antoon says he may defy it.
"I'm hoping to be back open Tuesday. I'm going to talk to some people Monday and make sure I've got things under control the way I want it," he said.
Antoon acknowledges that up until Thursday night he has been ignoring the California and San Mateo County health orders by conducting hour-long indoor hot yoga sessions for up to 10 people at a time in 105-degree heat inside. The studio is located at 1615 Oceana Blvd.
Masks? They were optional.
"They say can I take this mask off. It's your choice. Can I practice with the mask off? It's your choice," said Antoon.
San Mateo County took the studio to court Thursday and got a superior court judge to issue a temporary restraining order to keep it closed for the time being.
Warning issued to Pacifica yoga studio for mask violation
"We tried to educate him and make him aware for several months. We talked to him we find him. It still didn't work," said San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President David Canepa.
Those fines total $3,750. Antoon said he doesn't have the money to pay it.
Antoon said he believes he hasn't done anything wrong. He claims no COVID cases have come from his studio. He argued that he is an essential business and his constitutional rights have been trampled by forcing him to shut down.
"Why do you want me to close? We're not forcing you to come in. So don't come in. We're not hurting anyone because we are not permeating the virus from the studio," he said.
"It is not about someone's profits right now. It is about public health. And that is where we are at," said Canepa
"I don't think they will enforce the restraining order. I don't think they will. And if they do, shame on them," said Antoon.
County officials said the clients of the studio also bear a responsibility to follow the health order. But it doesn't appear the county will go after them. At least not yet.