Anchorage takes second diner to court over emergency order violation

Samantha Wells, owner of Little Dipper Diner, talks with assistant manager Frankie Henley at the restaurant on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020.
Samantha Wells, owner of Little Dipper Diner, talks with assistant manager Frankie Henley on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (Matthew Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

The Municipality of Anchorage is taking a second diner to court for violating the city’s order that prohibits indoor dining at restaurants. 

The city is asking a judge to order Little Dipper Diner to shut down dine-in service immediately. It filed the paperwork, seeking a temporary injunction, in state Superior Court in Anchorage on Thursday.

Read the city’s complaint here.

The owners of Little Dipper Diner could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

This is the second time the city has taken a business to court for not complying with a coronavirus-related order. 

RELATED: ‘We’re all angry’: Anchorage restaurants lay off workers and shut down dine-in, while others defy order

The first happened Wednesday. The city asked the court to order Kriner’s Diner to stop serving customers indoors. The hearing is scheduled for Friday morning. 

The two restaurants are among a small handful of businesses that have defied the mayor’s latest emergency order. The order took effect Monday in response to the growing number of coronavirus infections. It shut down indoor dining at restaurants, breweries and bars. It lasts four weeks.

RELATED: Anchorage shuts down bars, restaurants for indoor service

Little Dipper, Kriner’s and others have called the order unfair, and say the losses caused by closing their dining rooms are too much to bear. The city has posted notices at Little Dipper and Kriner’s this week ordering them to halt dine-in service, and it has issued them fines.

Municipal Attorney Kate Vogel said the city is seeking an injunction so the businesses can hear from a “separate neutral source about their obligations under the law.”

The court process may also come with additional fines. And, if the restaurants don’t follow the possible injunction, they could be charged with contempt of court, Vogel said.

Reach reporter Tegan Hanlon at thanlon@alaskapublic.org or 907-550-8447.