Restaurant owner, Angela Marsden has gone viral after an emotional rant against local officials including Governor Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, and Mayor Eric Garcetti’s wildly inconsistent enforcement of the most recent lockdown order.
It’s absolutely gutting to see how many small businesses, especially restaurants and bars, have shuttered for good in 2020. By now, we have our own strong beliefs about how to save these businesses, and we won’t all agree. However, it’s reasonable to expect that whatever regulations are put in place are applied consistently across the board.
No wonder this impassioned video by California restaurant and bar owner, Angela Marsden, tugs at our heartstrings. It is hard not to feel upset about this hypocrisy, seeing two opposing sets of rules applied to two different industries so blatantly. Marsden is having to close down her restaurant Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill due to the new lockdown orders for parts of Southern California.
Earlier this year, Marsden created ample outdoor and distanced seating for her restaurant, in accordance with earlier restrictions. Now she has to close her doors, as Newsom, Kuehl, and Garcetti try to stop the rampant spread of COVID-19 affecting L.A. County residents. Or so they say.
Imagine Marsden’s shock and justifiable anger at seeing the massive outdoor mess hall for nearly 200 people, legally constructed right across the parking lot from her shuttered restaurant. Because it’s L.A., it appears the movie industry merits their own set of rules. Here’s where the plot thickens: The novel coronavirus does not give a s*** about whether you work in a restaurant or on a movie. If one is not safe, the other isn’t either.
These small, local businesses like Marsden’s Pineapple Hill are performing a necessary balancing act, teetering precariously over the frying pan on one side and the fire on the other. There are no good options for these businesses, their owners, or their employees.
Stay in business and risk your own health, as well as that of your employees and customers. Or close for all on-site dining, even the patio, and try to survive with only takeout food sales in an attempt at, keeping everything as safe as possible. Or lose everything they’ve worked for and close permanently.
It’s a massive burden on the local governments who are taking on the brunt of the decision-making with little financial or legislative support from outside their own communities. I don’t envy them and this 2020 Catch-22. Once a decision is made to benefit public health, as in the case of closing down outdoor dining (and thus numerous restaurants), though, the least the local governments can do is apply the rules consistently.
Cut the monkey business, close the loopholes, and support local businesses and people. Ignoring COVID-19 and allowing business as usual to commence is not safe, and will result in thousands more deaths. Working on the extremely daunting task of maintaining public safety is no simple thing, especially during an alarmingly deadly and lingering pandemic. Yet, local officials must begin to enforce their own restrictions across the board.
It stinks that there aren’t better options for small businesses and their workers. It stinks that local governments bear the weight of these decisions, but being hypocritical like this serves nobody well. Take a stand and stick to it.