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Case against Orcutt wine bar owner accused of violating COVID-19 orders dismissed

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Posted at 4:26 PM, Jun 15, 2021

The criminal case against an Orcutt wine bar owner accused of defying public health orders and staying open during the pandemic has been dismissed.

In December, Kurt Hixenbaugh, co-owner of Vino et Amicis, posted a YouTube video with the title "We are Staying Open" days after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new stay-at-home order which forced many businesses to shut down.

He was facing misdemeanor charges for violating stay-at-home orders and failing to file a public health order between December and January.

On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office said the case was dismissed because the business had no further violations since the case was initially filed.

"Today marks the end of the State's color-tiered restrictions so the restrictions which formed the basis of the allegation no longer exist," a DA's Office spokesperson said. "It was always the primary goal of any County of Santa Barbara enforcement actions to ensure compliance with Health Officer orders for the purpose of protecting public health and ensuring that businesses were operating on a level playing field."

Hixenbaugh told KSBY News on Tuesday that he's happy about the decision, thankful to the community for the support, and looking forward to running his business moving forward.