UPDATE: Big Pine Two Brothers from Italy Challenges Inyo County Authority on COVID-19 Health Orders | Court date set for Wednesday, 8/12

Brett Callahan stands outside of Bishop City Hall with American flag protesting county health orders

(Update Aug. 10, 2020) From Two Brothers from Italy, Big Pine Facebook  Page:

“Two Brothers Big Pine Will Be Closed Wed 12th, we will be in court with Dr. James Richardson and Inyo County Deputy County Counsel Ms. Chuchoia, Sorry folks But please come and support us if you can”

Sierra Wave posted an article on Inyo County facing placement on state’s Watch List while making progress on enforcement of COVID-19 health orders | Brief Respite on August 9 in which Inyo County Administrative Officer, Clint Quilter, outlined the county’s approach to enforcing its health orders to ensure compliance with businesses that are non-compliant.

Two Brothers from Italy in Big Pine has been a topic of discussion on local social media for some time as being non-compliant. There have been supporters and detractors, although the latter far outnumber those that support the restaurant. Apparently, efforts at persuasion by county health officials and staff failed to get the desired result, hence the court action on Wednesday.

What’s clear in this court action is that Inyo County will do what is necessary to enforce health orders and protect its residents, especially given the explosion of 17 new positive COVID-19 cases revealed late Monday afternoon by county health officials and the two recent deaths from the contagion at the Bishop Care Center last week. County health officials want to head off what could become a train wreck should the coronavirus spiral out of control of the local hospitals’ capacity to handle it.

August 7, 2020: Original Posted Article:

What could possibly go wrong? For months, husband, Brett Callahan and wife, Giovanna Lomedico, owner’s of the popular pizza business known as Two Brothers of Italy, located in the Town of Big Pine, have made comments, mostly on social media, that the health orders issued by Inyo County Public Health are not legal, not Constitutional, and not “law.” Many have pointed out that they are wrong, but they seem determined to press their beliefs.

After a photo of Callahan (not wearing a mask) was posted on Facebook holding an American flag with two of his small  children (wearing masks) on the steps of Bishop City Hall, the couple defiantly issued the challenge to county health officials on social media, posting on the local Facebook Group, Butt Hurt Owens Valley. They announced that:

“Two Brothers Big Pine will open for lunch tomorrow from 11am to 3pm,And yes we have gotten to this point Inyo County Health Department sent Inyo County Inyo Building Inspectors to in force the health department laws, Game on Inyo County, Two Brothers will feed the Community And You Will Not Stop Us!!!!!”

It will be interesting to see how the County of Inyo, which has been accused of not enforcing health orders that have led up to this situation and the increasing numbers of positive Covid-19 cases, will respond. In the last few weeks, it has become increasingly clear that the county, and other cities, counties, and states across the country, are willing to start enforcing health orders on preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.

Perhaps it is time for the courts to take up the extent to, and the limitations of, just what authority governments have to enforce health orders to limit the spread of a pandemic that threatens the lives of their residents and citizens.

Two Brothers from Italy has 6  locations, most found in So. California. Company’s headquarters is located in Oceanside, Calif.

Sierra Wave spoke with a few local business owners in Big Pine and Bishop for their opinion of the matter, and they mostly appear to support the county’s position on the wearing of masks and other preventative protocols. A few expressed their anger that, while they were doing what they could to enforce the rules, the owners of Two Brothers of Italy were openly flouting it.

The overwhelming position on social media is that the county should enforce its health orders, even if that means shutting down the restaurant. Others say that they will never step foot inside the business, not now nor in the future.

That is not to say that everyone agrees, Who does in today’s politically charged climate? There are those that agree with the couple, generally on the same grounds that the couple are voicing. But even here, there are others that have told Sierra Wave that, noticing the names of the people supporting this cause, they have started to make decisions on who to do business with in the future…and who not to do business. Some have even admitted to have begun to “socially distance” themselves from some of those advocating defying the governments efforts to control the spread of the contagion. Which is probably okay with the Callahan-Lomedico supporters. Like in much of our politics today, common sense and comity has largely flown out the window.

There is a total of six Two Brothers from Italy Restaurants, mostly found in Southern California. Sierra Wave is reaching out to the main office to ask if the company supports their local franchise owners and do the other Two Brothers restaurants hold to the same policies of not wearing masks or enforcing local health orders.

This comes on the heels of the announcement of deaths of two elderly residents of the Bishop Care Center, a fact likely not lost on Inyo County authorities and many residents and business owners. It is the elderly and medically compromised adults that are at greatest risk of death from the Coronavirus Pandemic.

 

, , ,

74 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Concerned citizen
Concerned citizen
2 years ago

I have lived here for over 25 years here and most of the comments here make me sick. I see a business here that respects the wishes of people that come into their restaurant that may have a medical issue to not wear a mask. If you all want to… Read more »

Dee
Dee
2 years ago

Gestapo for the Biden campaign?
Now that’s quite the hyperbolic nonsense fairy tale!!
Looks like it didn’t go so well for them in court yesterday….,even with Biden’s Gestapo roaming around.

Stop non-essential travel
Stop non-essential travel
2 years ago

Um….. I think you’re referring to Orange County Florida with the lawsuit thing……right county, wrong state 🙂

Walter Sobchak
Walter Sobchak
2 years ago

I’m still patiently waiting for the Sierra Wave to write an article about the Blue Lives Matter rally that was held at the Bishop City Park over the weekend. Surely Charles James will write something about it in the spirit of “journalism”.

Walter Sobchak
Walter Sobchak
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles James

Still waiting for the Blue Lives Matter story. How is the draft coming?

Walter Sobchak
Walter Sobchak
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles James

Thanks for the update, Charles. And thanks for not censoring me this time.

Almost Native
Almost Native
2 years ago

I think the owners are probably correct about all the hog wash rules. But I do think they should be shut down if they don’t follow the mask and distance rules . If they exposed people to food poisoning they would be shut down in a New York minute. This… Read more »

Inyo Arabians
Inyo Arabians
2 years ago

“Welcome to the Freedom Cafe! We trust you to make your own choices if you want to wear a face mask. And, in the same spirit of individual liberty, we allow our staff to make their own choices about the safety procedures they prefer to follow as they prepare and… Read more »

Dee
Dee
2 years ago
Reply to  Inyo Arabians

Freedumb Cafe

David Dennison
David Dennison
2 years ago

My bet is,judging from the comments here and public opinion,this Husband-Wife pizza shop owners didn’t expect this response and maybe wish they handled it a little bit different. Probably expecting locals,after going by and purchasing one of their pizzas,joining them on the Bishop City Hall steps,waving their American flags and… Read more »

johndoeml
johndoeml
2 years ago

Given the resistance to public health, why would anyone trust Two Brothers in other areas such as basic sanitation or discarding out of date food?

Inyo K
Inyo K
2 years ago
Reply to  johndoeml

At this rate, I count myself lucky I never got salmonella from their chicken parm.

Inyo K
Inyo K
2 years ago

I hope they get their franchise license revoked.

American Freedom??
American Freedom??
2 years ago
Reply to  Inyo K

It’s pretty sad that fellow Americans are publicly bashing these business owners for exercising their first amendment right to protest some unconstitutional rules forced onto us by the government. I bet if they burned down pizza factory in the name of BLM they’d be deemed mostly peaceful patriots exercising their… Read more »

Dee
Dee
2 years ago

Public health and safety measures during a global pandemic are not unconstitutional by any means whatsoever.

FishinDay395
FishinDay395
2 years ago

Im personally sick and tired or people pulling the unconstitutional card in this matter and politicizing this. This is a public health matter that effects every single one of us and especially the elderly and vulnerable in our community plain and simple. I think the potential of pizza factory burning… Read more »

Stop non-essential travel
Stop non-essential travel
2 years ago

“public bashing” -? I’m sure he can take it, afterall he’s standing on a public sidewalk, with his kids, waving an american flag, and apparently making his personal feelings known, by making statements on a public forum.

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
2 years ago

What hasn’t the covid pandemic had an effect upon? Along with the loss of personal liberties, personal choice is the drastic effect on everyone’s financial outlook. There are not too many business plans that can reconcile this pandemic. Folks are desperate and Washington is gridlocked and mostly unresponsive to the… Read more »

Jodi Friedlander
Jodi Friedlander
2 years ago

I’m a nutritionist and a retired writer of nutrition curriculum. I read full-length research studies for information. As someone who also hates mask wearing, I’ve taken a very good look at what the non-biased scientific research has so far found on mask wearing. Basically, for people like me and these… Read more »

Stop non-essential travel
Stop non-essential travel
2 years ago

Thanks for your insight Jodi – you are absolutely right about the gut biome and its importance in our functional health.

Tina hopkins
Tina hopkins
2 years ago

When it hits someone healthy you may know , and they don’t make it , for the ones that want give up their rights, because . …. . Oh selfish, heartless

Chris
Chris
2 years ago

A person should be able to make a living, we all have a choice in this , either go to the restaurant or don’t go, it’s that simple.

FishinDay395
FishinDay395
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Also pretty simple to put a featherweight mask on. Just sayin….

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris

If only it was that simple.

Dee
Dee
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris

It’s not that simple. The reckless behavior ongoing at that restaurant has the potential to spread far beyond that location. Do you know how this virus is spread? What is just as reckless, negligent at this point is the fact our local government hasn’t shut down this restaurant. This is… Read more »

Try to Know What You’re Talking About
Try to Know What You’re Talking About
2 years ago
Reply to  Dee

Dee, I hope you read the update slapped onto this story because it should show you how I’m incorrect and unfair your statements were about the county and elected officials are “sit(ting) back” and doing nothing. The county does have enforcement mechanisms at its disposal but the business, just like… Read more »

Dee
Dee
2 years ago

Yes, due process is required, and I can admit I’ve been wrong to previously say that the county should just shut them down. I do very much appreciate the way the county has handled Two Guys especially with the limited resources at their disposal. I agree with everything you’ve expressed,… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
2 years ago

Thanks for the heads up. I now know where I’ll never eat a pizza. Any other like minded business people out there want to speak up? Please let us know where you stand so we can vote with our wallets.

Jubie
Jubie
2 years ago

I suppose this makes everyone feel better to vent. The fact is it’s an argument that will never be over. Just like in politics, you’re never going to convince those who think their way is right. Bottom line- just don’t go there if you disagree. Patronize the businesses that you… Read more »

Tourbillon
Tourbillon
2 years ago

A lot of intolerant malice in the comments thread and unprofessional bias in the article itself. I would bet most of the commenters, like the writer, have not lost their jobs. I still have mine luckily enough. So do the government bureaucrats who put hundreds of east side restaurant workers… Read more »

Frankly, somewhere a village is looking for an idiot...
Frankly, somewhere a village is looking for an idiot...
2 years ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

“Unprofessional bias” as opposed to what? “Professional bias?” And clearly, you have no bias of your own, right, Dr. Spock? Tourbillon, somewhere there must be entire villages looking for more people like you…because their own village idiots have all recently died from the coronavirus, but then you did say “I… Read more »

David Dennison
David Dennison
2 years ago

Frankly You got to understand and try to accept,Tourbillion is only talking,commenting and thinking as he’s being told to,whether he believes it himself or not,like it seems many others do in this Country now. Unfortunately,who and what he’s listening to and obeying orders from holds the highest political office in… Read more »

Anonemoose
Anonemoose
2 years ago

My wife has a compromised immune system and asthma, I have underlying health conditions. We had take out from there 4 to 6 times a month until the last three orders were terrible. The last straw was standing in line to pick up our order, next to people without masks… Read more »

Darren
Darren
2 years ago
Reply to  Anonemoose

After reading this article, I went there for lunch and it was packed. Again, how many healthy people have died from this in Inyo county?

Stop non-essential travel
Stop non-essential travel
2 years ago
Reply to  Darren

How many people do you think need to die? How about you throw a number out there ? And who does that number need to include ? Be specific, please.

SUP395
SUP395
2 years ago
Reply to  Darren

So only “unhealthy people” die from this?! I’m sorry, would you being saying this if your love one died from this, say at the care center? This sounds like you don’t care about the elderly. How about people who have something like an auto-immune disease or other diseases, they don’t… Read more »

David Dennison
David Dennison
2 years ago

Easy answer for the locals to handle this.
Don’t do business at their establishment if they feel they’re above the rules and can do as they please,putting others in harm’s way.
See if they can stay in business with the few flag wavers claiming “their rights” are being violated.

RB Gold
RB Gold
2 years ago
Reply to  David Dennison

How many of you think masks work? We were told that they don’t work from many health authorities..then we have been told they do work. Thumbs up if you think they actually work. Thumbs down if you think they don’t work. I personally have doubts that they work to stop… Read more »

Science
Science
2 years ago
Reply to  RB Gold

If you don’t believe that masks work I would suggest that next time you require surgery you request that the doctors and nurses not wear them. They’ll be fine since they only wear them for your protection.

Frankly, your 2 cents is a waste of money...
Frankly, your 2 cents is a waste of money...
2 years ago
Reply to  Science

Frankly, RB Gold, given the response from other readers, your 2 cents is worth a lot less than that. There is a coin shortage…and apparently, in your case, a shortage of, if not lack, common sense.

RB gold
RB gold
2 years ago

Well then keep that mask on tight. Make sure it’s an N95 mask. Also don’t forget to keep your mind closed while you’re at it

Stop non-essential travel
Stop non-essential travel
2 years ago
Reply to  RB Gold

I love this post: “Thumbs up if you think they actually work. Thumbs down if you think they don’t work.” grin.

BobK
BobK
2 years ago

hmmm. I didn’t think that you were required to wear a mask outside if you were more than 6ft away from others unless they are immediate family….Peter Bear; If you want to be governed by Garcetti, I”m sure there are plenty of us here that can tell you where to… Read more »

Sierra
Sierra
2 years ago

Even though they are newcomers to the area, the restaurant owners are unfortunately not the only business owners/ workers in Big Pine that do not respect their fellows and wear masks. We can, and have chosen not to support those businesses- 2 restaurants and a gas station. What we can’t… Read more »

Mono Person
Mono Person
2 years ago
Reply to  Sierra

Post Office is a Federal building, and Feds don’t have the mask mandate.

Sierra
Sierra
2 years ago
Reply to  Mono Person

The post office is a small space and common sense and civility warrents mask wearing and social distancing inside( as requested on door) Also, think of the employees- respect their health . Hard to believe the selfishness of people in an area usually known for nice people. Just be part… Read more »

Mono Person
Mono Person
2 years ago
Reply to  Sierra

I am just stating a fact, not an opinion.

Scott
Scott
2 years ago
Reply to  Mono Person

Post offices do have a mask mandate. They also have social distancing mandates.

Stop non-essential travel
Stop non-essential travel
2 years ago
Reply to  Mono Person

I think though, that although the USPS is a federal entity, it is considered an “independent office” (not funded by the feds) so can make operational decisions without federal oversight or “mandate” – therefore, they can mandate social distancing and masks if they want.

David Dennison
David Dennison
2 years ago
Reply to  Mono Person

Mono Person Thankfully,most of them are using common sense and wearing one anyway,doing the right thing….not having to be “told” to do it… Or are you trying to say if they’re not told to wear one,that means they can’t wear one whether they want to or not,told NOT to,like what… Read more »

Des
Des
2 years ago
Reply to  Mono Person

So no fed mask requirement, MonoPerson? So what? There’s a local one.

Mono Person
Mono Person
2 years ago

You go Two Brothers – I’ll back you!! Support small businesses!

Muskrat
Muskrat
2 years ago
Reply to  Mono Person

Yes, support small, local businesses that GENUINELY care about investing in our community in a positive way, not decisive just to try to prove some strange point that their “freedom” is being taken away.

Again, they shouldn’t run a restaurant if they feel so strongly about their position.

FishinDay395
FishinDay395
2 years ago
Reply to  Mono Person

No one is not supporting small business here that’s just ridiculous. There’s absolutely no reason this restaurant can’t thrive during this time especially being a pizza shop that most people can take home or easily have delivered. If anything it might be able to do more business during this time.… Read more »

Muskrat
Muskrat
2 years ago

Let me guess—-they probably don’t wash their hands either because that would be another infringement of their constitutional rights! Snowflakes and attention whores is what you are! If you can’t be bothered to wear masks, then don’t run a restaurant. Go work at a sewage plant or something… Show RESPECT… Read more »

Peter Bear
Peter Bear
2 years ago

2 Brothers sounds like a franchise out of L.A. Their smug, snarky, defiant and stupid attitude has no place in Inyo County. If they don’t want to follow the health rules in place to protect us all, the authorities should shut off their water and electricity– just like Mayor Garcetti… Read more »

Britney
Britney
2 years ago

1st off, the bias is unreal in your story. This IS not a ” popular pizza business. The owner, and his law enforcement family is a joke. So ,here we are, we are a law enforcement family, yet we WILL NOT PLAY BY THE RULES. The diareaha they serve is… Read more »

Frankly, I hope this restaurant is shut down...
Frankly, I hope this restaurant is shut down...
2 years ago
Reply to  Britney

Not to pick on you, but did you actually read the entire article? The writer only pointed out that the TBFI restaurants are popular. It can be seen on reviews of the restaurant online…and I know a lot of people from the San Diego area that love Two Bros. But… Read more »

Britney
Britney
2 years ago

Frankly, frank, I did read, that biased article. I’m thinking you should REREAD it. Because in the real world, when you say in print, ” POPULAR PIZZA Business ” without a following statement as to, say why, or who, the awards won, etc, then that is BIASED. NOW, on to… Read more »

Bub
Bub
2 years ago

Well, I was thinking of trying the place the next time I’m in town, but it’s come off my list of things to do. I won’t support any business that refuses to take COVID seriously or show any concern for their patrons or fellow citizens. √

Greg Weirick
Greg Weirick
2 years ago

That building also houses the county courthouse and sheriff’s office!
Shutting down restaurants because of the isolated issue at the Bishop Care center is wrong.
So sad to read that staff carelessly brought in the virus and there should be criminal charges!

FishinDay395
FishinDay395
2 years ago
Reply to  Greg Weirick

So what about all of the positive cases outside of the care center? You consider those isolated as well? This could just as easily be transmitted In a restaurant that is refusing to mask considering the amount of positive cases it’s not just because of this just happening at the… Read more »

Muskrat
Muskrat
2 years ago
Reply to  Greg Weirick

So, Greg—when you come down with the virus, who are you gonna blame?? If you spread it to someone, can we prosecute you? Sounds fair to me, going along with your logic…

Betsy Moss
Betsy Moss
2 years ago

Yes, and he is holding the American flag – for which so many have died – so that most of it is lower than his head – a violation of basic flag protocol.

A real American patriot.

Everett Holland
Everett Holland
2 years ago
Reply to  Betsy Moss

Stick that mask where the sun don’t shine. This is not the business owners fault. ITS YOUR FAULT! YEAH, YOU. You voted for this crap. YOU DID

Dee
Dee
2 years ago

Everett, no one voted for this global pandemic.
These are coherent public health and safety measures during a global pandemic. No one is immune, no one is somehow exempt from this very serious global pandemic.

Muskrat
Muskrat
2 years ago

When was there a vote?

I guess I missed out on that one!

????

KeyBoard Warrior
KeyBoard Warrior
2 years ago

Yeah! Don’t vote for the same bone heads in office this next election. Especially the one in the white house.

Real American
Real American
2 years ago

I hope they don’t wear their seat belts either. Freedom yeah!

Des
Des
2 years ago

Everett, of course it is the business owner’s fault when he knowingly violate public health orders.

Low
Low
2 years ago

So….he’s protesting orders put out by the County…..in front of a City Building? LOL

Denbie
Denbie
2 years ago
Reply to  Low

Wear masks and make outside seating!