Judge urges both sides to try and reach settlement in restaurant mask dispute

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ASHLAND, Ohio (WJW)– An attorney representing the Ashland County Health Department told a judge Tuesday they are willing to discuss a possible settlement offer with a local restaurant that was shut down because employees were not wearing face masks.

Atty.  David Smith made the comments during a status hearing in Ashland County Common Pleas Court on the Cattlemans Restaurant case. He said his client is willing to reinstate the food license as long as the owner of the restaurant “agrees to abide by the applicable laws and the Dine Safe Ohio order.”

Atty.  Maurice Thompson, with the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law,  which represents Cattlemans,  told Judge Ronald Forsthoefel they are willing to discuss a settlement.  

The judge urged both sides to try and reach an agreement. He added that if a settlement cannot be reached a preliminary injunction hearing will be held August 28.

The judge did grant a temporary restraining order which will allow the restaurant to remain open for now.

Mandy Close, owner of Cattlemans Restaurant, said the health department suspended her food license and ordered her restaurant closed in July because she and other employees were not wearing facial coverings.

Close said she and other members of her staff were not wearing masks due to health issues.  She said she placed a sign on the door alerting customers that the servers will not have masks on and not to come in if they felt unsafe.

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