You have undoubtedly seen the video of a female Los Angeles business owner pleading for lawmakers to reconsider their lockdown of restaurants and calling out the double standard of shuttering her establishment but allowing a movie production to erect outdoor dining just 50 feet away.
Small business owners across the nation are tired of the hypocrisy and double standards on top of the questionable COVID-19 restrictions that limit or halt their operations. They are fighting back to save their livelihoods.
Restauranteur Angela Marsden created a viral video of an outdoor seating area for TV production, set in full operation next door to her shuttered restaurant, Pineapple Hill Salon & Grill.
Marsden had spent $80,000 setting up an outdoor dining space to comply with restrictions that limited dining only to outdoors. However, just before Thanksgiving, public health officials closed down outdoor dining and only permitted takeout. However, a production company was able to set up their dining operations right next to hers because the state declared the entertainment industry as essential to allow film and TV production workers to resume filming under strict protocols.
As Marsden explained in the emotional video:
People wonder why I am protesting and why I have had enough. They have not given us money and they have shut us down. We cannot survive. My staff cannot survive.
Tell me that this is dangerous, but right next to me as a slap to my face, that’s safe. This is safe? 50 feet away?
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s response:
My heart goes out to Ms. Marsden and the workers at the Pineapple Hill Saloon who have to comply with state and county public health restrictions that close outdoor dining. No one likes these restrictions, but I do support them as our hospital I.C.U. beds fill to capacity and cases have increased by 500%. We must stop this virus before it kills thousands of more Angelenos.
Yet, even the “science” that public officials and public health officials claim to rely on does not find a link between virus spread and outdoor dining at restaurants.
Marsden is not alone in her panic over losing her business.
Yelp recently released an economic impact report of the coronavirus restrictions and found that as of August 31st, 163,000 businesses had closed temporarily, but nearly 98,000 of them did not reopen. An astonishing 60 percent of temporarily-closed businesses are closed for good.
Small business owners are fighting back on social media and traditional media by appealing to lawmakers and the public.
They argue that this is not just about them, but the economic hardship for their employees. Some also point to their constitutional rights being trampled upon by bureaucrats.
The latest and last jobs report of 2020 indicates that the fresh round of lockdowns and restrictions has created new setbacks to the jobs recovery. Although the national unemployment rate edged down to 6.7 percent, there were slowdowns in retail, hospitality, and food and beverage last month. These were areas that had been recovering over the summer and fall months.
Hypocritical politicians are happily enjoying dining out and dining while cutting off those activities for customers and the small businesses which serve them. Their paychecks are guaranteed so perhaps they don’t feel the urgency of losing their paycheck, business, and livelihood, but they should.