A Los Angeles restaurant owner who was forced to shut down because of the county’s coronavirus restrictions expressed frustration after a film crew was allowed to set up outdoor dining for its workers across from her restaurant.
Angela Marsden owns Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill in Sherman Oaks, California, which has been a staple in the community for over 40 years.
When she showed up at her restaurant Friday to get supplies for a protest of the county’s coronavirus restrictions, she found that a film crew had been allowed to set up an outdoor dining area 15 feet from her outdoor patio that she was told had to be closed because of the pandemic.
“Tell me that this is dangerous but right next to me is a slap in my face,” Marsden said.
“Everything I own is being taken away from me and they set up a movie company right next to my outdoor patio.”
Bar owner in Los Angeles CA is livid to see that mayor Garcetti has approved an outdoor dining area for a movie company directly across from her outdoor dining area (which was shut down) pic.twitter.com/jkUP2CWg35
— Jake Coco 💙🇺🇸🎶🐻 (@jakecoco) December 4, 2020
Under the most recent Los Angeles County health order, restaurants were forced to shut down their outdoor dining for three weeks, but video and music production was deemed essential, KCBS-TV reported.
Marsden said that she spent over $80,000 to make her restaurant coronavirus compliant only to be told she couldn’t have in-person dining.
“You can’t eat here, but you can walk in the same parking lot 15 feet and you can eat alfresco on a movie set because I guess COVID doesn’t go there,” she said.
She told KCBS that she doesn’t blame the movie industry, but she believes restaurants are being unfairly targeted.
“If I’m not open by February, I will no longer be here,” Marsden said.
“My restaurant can’t open for to-go, what little money we have I have to try to hold on to for the hopes that we’ll get to go to outdoor dining again, which is why I’m fighting so hard to get it open again.”
Marsden, along with several industry friends, planned to hold a protest Saturday to try to get the attention of county leaders so they can hear the devastation restaurant owners are facing.
She has also set up a GoFundMe campaign to help with costs for her business.
“Mayor Garcetti and Gavin Newsom is responsible for every single person that does not have unemployment, that does not have a job and all the businesses that go under,” she said through tears.
“And we need your help! We need somebody to do something about this!”
The fight has been taken to the courts and a judge ordered Los Angeles County public health officials on Wednesday to provide evidence to justify banning outdoor dining, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“You have to do a risk-benefit analysis for public health,” LA County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant said. “You don’t just talk about the risk of spreading disease. You have to talk about the benefit of keeping restaurants open.”
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