The Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously this week to drop lawsuits against five remaining businesses that had ignored coronavirus restrictions forbidding indoor operations.

The board had originally filed suit against 18 businesses — four restaurants and 14 gyms — in January for refusing to close their doors or abide by masking requirements, but settled with most by early February when the state returned to the tiered closure system and lifted its stay-at-home order. The latest move, announced Tuesday night, drops the charges against the remaining businesses just as Ventura County lifted restrictions on indoor operations.

“The lawsuits were never meant to be punitive but rather to gain compliance with public health orders,” Chair Linda Parks said in a joint statement on behalf of the board of supervisors. “This act of goodwill is in concert with the loosening of indoor restrictions accompanying the county’s move into the red tier. We extend our deep appreciation and thanks to all businesses that have worked so hard and continue to work hard to keep their employees and customers safe from COVID by following public health guidelines. It’s crucial that all businesses follow the state issued guidance so that we can all continue to move forward. We want to make sure we all work together to protect lives and to continue reopening our county.”

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