COVID Lockdown Backlash Reaching Fever Pitch in Southern California Due to Hypocrisy from Politicians
By Julio Rosas – https://townhall.com/
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — There is much outrage from residents at the new lockdown orders politicians at the highest and lowest levels in the Golden State have implemented that are very similar to the ones first put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. And they say the hypocrisy from those same politicians is behind the growing backlash.
Kitson Los Angeles, a boutique shop, made headlines last week for posting pictures of COVID hypocrisy from Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D) on its windows for all shoppers to see. On Saturday, Fraser Ross, the store’s owner, wanted to take the frustration up a notch. He invited volunteers of the Recall Gavin Newsom campaign to park their truck in front of the store to collect signatures.
“I heard they need to get more and more signatures and I thought well, people are coming to take pictures of the window, so obviously we’re getting traffic that wants to sign the petition,” Ross told Townhall, explaining his business has been “booming” since the posters have gone up, “The support has been overwhelming.”
“I’m just trying to help small businesses…to stand up to these politicians.”
Across the street from Kitson, Nicole Sassaman, the owner of a home lifestyle store that bears her name, was more than happy to see the Recall Newsom truck outside, saying they have her “100 percent support” because “he’s destroying businesses and I feel like we’re living in Russia.”
“I feel [Newsom] is a hypocrite and as my father taught me, hogs get slaughtered,” she added.
Business owners and restaurant workers held a protest outside the home of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s home demanding she votes to undo the outdoor dining ban she advocated for last week. The reason why they were particularly upset at Kuehl is because hours after she voted for the ban, she then went to eat outdoors at her favorite restaurant before the ban went into effect.
The protest on Saturday was organized by Angela Marsden, the owner of Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill, who Townhall had previously interviewed at a different protest. Marsden gained national attention after she showed how her outdoor dining setup was banned but there was outdoor dining for the cast and crew of an entertainment production company because they were labeled as “essential.”
The protesters said they just wanted the ability to go to work, pay their bills, and earn a living.
“I have been unable to work for the past nine months. I work and I am a part-owner at two bars, I bartended at my own bars, and then I was doing wedding planning. So one day I had three jobs and the next day I had none and there’s no jobs to go apply for because it’s all the same industry, it’s all shut down,” Camila Dizon told Townhall.
Dizon said they spent $10,000 at The Oaks Tavern in Sherman Oaks to put in a kitchen so they could participate in outdoor dining. That is why Kuehl’s hypocrisy on the issue is “infuriating,” Dizon said.
“We’re here because she was such a driving force during that meeting to shut down dining…it’s the hypocrisy. The hypocrisy must stop,” she added.
When LA County first implemented their outdoor ban, Andrew Gruel, the head chef and owner of Slapfish, made it very clear he was not going to comply with the ban if it was implemented in Orange County, pointing to the lack of scientific evidence showing such activity is extremely dangerous.
Now that there is a ban from the state for counties if they meet certain parameters, Gruel told Townhall they’ll press on with business as long as they’re able to.
“Well I don’t necessarily know if I made the mistake of putting us in the crosshairs of whatever agency [that] is going to prevent us from keeping our dining open, but as I’ve said on multiple occasions, we have no intention of opening up indoor dining. We agree that indoor dining is an issue,” Gruel said, but “If you look outside, we’ve got a plethora of outdoor space.”
Gruel said being able to only offer takeout could be more problematic since they can not control how many people customers then go eat with, “We can offer them to eat in a thoroughly spaced, outdoor area…that’s our argument proving that this is actually safer and until such time we see any data that prove otherwise, we’re just going to continue serving outside.”
Gruel explained if county health inspectors start issuing fines or revoke his licenses, they’ll seek legal options to go around it. Echoing the other restaurant owners, Gruel said there have been sunk costs to accommodate the indoor and outdoor rules the state and county have put in place.
“The biggest costs are outdoor heat lamps, all the plexiglass that we’ve put indoors is now just a sunk cost. And then, the need to have the labor to continually rebuild our outdoor dining space every single day, because we bring everything back indoors and put it back out there,” he said.
Gruel also warned about how the big tech corporations are seeing the most benefit from the ban since many customers use third-party apps to order their food.
“Well third-party delivery takes thirty cents on every dollar and it just goes to Silicon Valley.” Because of the loss and how much smaller takeout sales are compared to sit down sales, “it’s not even worth” shifting to just doing take out.
“At the end of the day, it’s the government that’s forced us to shut down and I’m not necessarily saying that we need some huge safety net, but if they’re telling us we have to shut down, then they should be providing the relief or at least the subsidy to cover the loss of revenue, it’s that simple,” Gruel said.