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Area restaurants have food service permits reinstated, will comply with health orders


Four restaurants violated July 13 public health order

Joshua Kellogg   | Farmington Daily Times
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  • District Court Judge Curtis Gurley issued on Sept. 2 a stipulated preliminary injunction and order for reinspection in four civil lawsuits involving the New Mexico Environment and Health departments against three Farmington restaurants and a Kirtland restaurant.
  • The three restaurants in Farmington are TJ's Diner and both Los Hermanitos locations with Country Family Restaurant in Kirtland.
  • A Sept. 2 emergency hearing requested by the restaurants was canceled as Gurley's order was issued.

FARMINGTON — Some area restaurants have had food service permits reinstated after they were suspended by the state for alleged violations of a state public health order which prohibited indoor dining. 

The restaurants will comply with current and future public health orders as part of a court order.

District Court Judge Curtis Gurley issued on Sept. 2 a stipulated preliminary injunction and order for reinspection in four civil lawsuits involving the New Mexico Environment and Health departments against three Farmington restaurants and a Kirtland restaurant.

TJ's Diner and both Los Hermanitos locations are in Farmington. Country Family Restaurant is in Kirtland.

The restaurants had their food service permits suspended by the state for violating a July 13 public health order, which prohibited indoor dining for customers.

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Indoor dining at the time was described as a public health risk to employees and customers for possibly contracting COVID-19. 

The state asked a court in late July to force the four restaurants to stop operating without food service permits and comply with public health orders.

Attorney Gary Risley on Aug. 26 filed answers and counterclaims to the state's petitions on behalf of the restaurants along with an alternative writ of mandamus seeking an emergency hearing.

The restaurants denied most of allegations and sought to have food service permits reinstated. 

The attorneys for the state and Risley entered into an agreed court order, Risley told The Daily Times.

"It resolved the issue of the State’s request for an injunction and the applications for writs of mandamus against the Environment Department which sought to require the Department to inspect and then reinstate the suspended food service permits, " Risley said.

Gurley's Sept. 2 order was limited, as it only addressed two things.

It allowed the restaurants to be re-inspected by the state environment department within 24 hours of the order being issued for the purpose of having food service permits reinstated.

It also stated the restaurants will comply with all current and future public health orders issued by the state that are related to restaurant service.

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The restaurants can challenge future public health orders believed to be unlawful. All other issues raised by both parties will be handled at a future date.  

Risley said Country Family Restaurant and both Los Hermanitos locations had been inspected and had food service permits reinstated as of 12:15 p.m. on Sept. 2

He added the inspection for TJ's Diner was scheduled for later that afternoon and he believed there would be no issue in having its food service permit reinstated.

A Sept. 2 emergency hearing requested by the restaurants was canceled as Gurley's order was issued.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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