Lumpy’s Diner in Antioch was shut down Wednesday by Contra Costa County’s health department over owners’ refusal to comply with COVID-19 mandates.
Contra Costa Health Services officials reached an agreement with the restaurant to reopen Thursday. A call to the restaurant Thursday afternoon went to voicemail, which said the mailbox was full.
“Our inspector observed staff at the business working indoors without wearing masks or face coverings and issued a notice of health permit suspension, which closed the business immediately,” said Karl Fischer, spokesperson for the health department.
“This business previously had multiple notices of violation and fines for observed health order violations.”
Fischer said Lumpy’s has agreed to set up a face mask station at the front of the business to provide masks to customers who do not enter with one, and and to ensure that guests dining indoors present verification of their vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test.
“Lumpy’s also agreed that all employees will wear face masks for the duration of the day while working indoors,” Fischer said. “The business will post signage regarding these policies.”
Lumpy’s owners have been open about their unwillingness to check customers’ vaccine records or ask people to wear masks while dining indoors. It’s one of 13 county restaurants the health department has said continue to refuse to comply with COVD-19 restrictions, and only the second to be shut down for its defiance so far.
In October, the county shut down In-N-Out in Pleasant Hill. The restaurant chose to keep its dining room closed and has since only offered drive-thru service.
“We’re done,” District 4 supervisor Karen Mitchoff told health services director Anna Roth at Tuesday’s board meeting. “At this point, it’s time. There are businesses that are complying, and we’ve got a new variant coming out, and what’s to prevent another business that’s been complying to say ‘Hey, there’s nothing being done?”
Roth said the message was received and told Mitchoff she would report back to the board next week on actions being taken.
The health department has so far dealt with most cases of non-compliance by contacting business owners. Escalating fines of $250, $500 and $1,000 can follow. Then the county moves ahead with shutting down the business.
Roth said Tuesday the new Omicron variant hasn’t reached Contra Costa County yet, though it is in the Bay Area. The Delta variant makes up about 97 percent of the cases in Contra Costa, which numbered 1,284 Tuesday.
The county’s positivity rate has increased, from 1.9 percent on Nov. 23 to 2.8 percent. “It’s a slight increase, but it’s important to keep an eye on that.,” Roth said.
Hospitalizations have decreased, from 33 two weeks ago to 27. The county rate of death is still about one person per day — 31 deaths since Nov. 7, Roth said.
The county reached 2 million doses given on Dec. 3. The county’s rate of fully vaccinated residents is at 75.6 percent. One of the requirements of lifting the county’s indoor masking requirement is having 80 percent of eligible people fully vaccinated.