Defiant Napa restaurant, Fumé Bistro, offers in-person dining, calls health order 'unjust'

Fumé Bistro and Bar has not been hiding the fact that they have been welcoming guests in-person, even after the county went into the state stay-at-home order on Dec. 18.
NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- A restaurant in Napa has been defying California's stay-at-home order, offering in person dining in their enclosed patio.

With string lighting and heat lamps powered up, Fumé Bistro and Bar has not been hiding the fact that they have been welcoming guests in-person, even after the county went into the state stay-at-home order on Dec. 18.

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The owner of the restaurant, Terry Letson, spoke to ABC7 in May when he defied the indoor dining ban back then.

He did not want to do an interview for this story but gave a statement, reading in part:

"Bottom line, the closure of on-premises dining is uncalled for, unjust and will bankrupt an industry that has needlessly taken an unprecedented hit...Fumé Bistro will remain open for on-premises dining just as other 'essential' businesses in our community are staying open."

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On New Year's Day, several tables were full with maskless customers.

"I'm still working full time. I'm willing to spend my money to help people out continue their trade and their job," said a customer who only identified himself as Phillip.

He said he came to dine in-person to support the restaurant employees.

"I'm willing to risk possibly getting it to help other people survive," he said.

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Napa County has had 5,741 positive COVID-19 cases. 2,400 of them were in the past month.

The county's website currently lists their ICU capacity at 0 percent.

"I feel the numbers are inflated. There's no evidence I've seen that shows the numbers are high due to outdoor dining. To me its worth the risk," said Phillip.

Scott Sedgley, Mayor of the City of Napa, called the restaurant's decision to stay open "unfortunate."

A Napa County spokesperson tells ABC7 the City of Napa and the County are aware that the restaurant has been serving customers in person. They said they have referred the complaints to the state coronavirus enforcement taskforce as well as the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

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