Local caterers among those hoping courts uphold ruling that Pennsylvania shutdowns were unconstitutional

COLLEGEVILLE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- It's no secret that caterers make a living off large crowds.

That's why a judge's decision declaring Governor Tom Wolf's outdoor and indoor gathering restrictions unconstitutional came as a sigh of relief for Sodiah Thomas who owns S&B Event Concepts and Catering in Collegeville.

Her only hope is that she can somehow make up what she lost.



"Everything that we could not reschedule for 2020 to 2021 we lost. So, our business pretty much shut down for the entire first half of the year," Thomas said.

The question now is whether the governor's appeal of the ruling will be successful.

Villanova Law Professor Michael Moreland says there is precedent for the governor's position. He cites a Supreme Court case from 1905 supporting a mandatory vaccination program.

"In that case, the court did say that constitutional liberties can be restricted in the name of public health in an emergency like that. But that's exactly where this judge, and some legal scholars, have said that doesn't mean the government can just do anything. There have to be some limitations on it," Moreland said.



Meanwhile, officials from Philadelphia say the ruling has no impact on the city's restrictions including a lingering ban on gatherings exceeding 150 people.

Thomas has this message for her customers as she hopes the judge's decision isn't too little, too late, for her business.

"The fall is coming now, so it's getting cold. You can't do too much outside now. So, we're telling them, 'Hang in there. We're working with them as much as we possibly can.' We love you and we feel for them as much as ourselves." Thomas said.
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