St. Louis nightspot fighting closure over mask violations

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis nightspot is fighting a closure order for alleged violations of mask and social distancing rules amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Reign Restaurant, whose main owner is mayoral candidate Dana Kelly, is seeking a temporary restraining order to end the city-imposed shutdown, which began Wednesday and is set to expire Oct. 23, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The restaurant alleged in its lawsuit that it was targeted by the city because Kelly has declared her intention to run against Mayor Lyda Krewson next year. Krewson is listed as a defendant in the suit along with the acting city health director, Dr. Fredrick Echols.

The city argued in a filing Friday that residents and the general public “will be at great risk" if the restaurant is permitted to reopen. It cited photos and videos taken between Sept. 5 and Oct. 9 showing large groups of patrons and workers at the bar and dance floor who were not wearing masks or social distancing.

Deputy City Counselor Robert Dierker called the claim of political targeting “absurd” and “a fanciful allegation" in an interview with the newspaper.

Circuit Judge Joan Moriarty has set a hearing for Monday.