ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The owners of Wheelhouse and Start Bar have filed a second lawsuit against the City of St. Louis, claiming they received an order to shut down their operations without an chance to defend themselves.
The locations were previously shut down after a judge sided with the city, saying the health department has the authority to close down businesses violating public health orders during the pandemic.
The first round of closures came after a video surfaced showing a packed crowd at Wheelhouse. The video showed a crowd of people on the dance floor and no one was seen wearing face masks.
During that dispute, the owners argued they followed mask mandates and were never issued any citations before the closure.
However, the judge agreed with the city, ruling:
"The Court’s limited role of judicial review is not to assess the wisdom of the Orders, but to determine whether the Order violates the law. The Court finds that they do not violate the law because they have a real and substantial relation to the goal of stemming the tide of the public-health pandemic; further, 19CSR20-20.040(3) specifically authorizes to director to close any “other place” when the director finds that the closing is necessary to protect public health. As the closure relates to a pandemic, the process due prior to the closure is that the public is placed on notice that the law allows for such closures."
The latest shutdown order appears to have followed a series of photos showing the establishments not adhering to mask orders. However, according to the latest public statement from the owners:
"...we were issued a 2 week closure until November 30. The pain is solely for our staff and everyone affected by the unilateral decision of 1 person.
Wheelhouse and Start Bar were issued a 2 week closure by the Health Director, Fredrick Echols, without due process and any correspondence except the notice ordering a shutdown."
The statement goes on to say that the evidence against the restaurant is false, because the photos the city used to make the decision are not actually of either establishment.
Mayor Lyda Krewson's office did not have a comment Friday night, with a spokesperson saying they had not yet reviewed the suit