Few could believe it when LA County switched the latest COVID dining edict from outside-only to a complete shutdown right before Thanksgiving. All of a sudden, restaurants that had invested in tents, patio infrastructure, and outdoor heaters were stuck with equipment they couldn’t use for customers they were forbidden to serve. One Redondo Beach restauranteur said screw it. He defied the order in the most humorous of ways.
For many business owners in California, their only choice is which way do you want the state to put you out of business, the slow way, by intermittent shutdowns at the whim of the mayor or the fast way, by defying the order and the mayor yanking your business license and shutting off power and water?
Alex Jordan, the owner of Redondo Beach’s Eat at Joe’s doesn’t know what will happen to his establishment, but he’s tired of the ruling class and its double standards.
“I won’t be any worse off than I would be if I just never stayed open. We’ll stay open as long as we can.”
He used a little creativity to stick it to LA County and COVID hardliners LA Mayor Eric “Baby Doc” Garcetti and Governor Gavin Newsom.
He put up a new sign under his larger-than-life logo.
This Redondo Beach restaurant has a not so subtle message for CA. Owner Alex says he’s defying LA County orders to close outdoor dining because it’s not about him, it’s about all the workers that rely on him for livelihoods, and he can’t leave them stranded right before Christmas pic.twitter.com/rRlUGlKbkR
— Christina Pascucci (@ChristinaKTLA) November 29, 2020
Yes, that reads “The French Laundry.” The French Laundry is the restaurant where Governor Newsom, his wife, and about a dozen other people broke many of the governor’s rules, from masking, to spacing, to numbers of people allowed from different families, to dining outside.
Jordan told NBC4LA that he’s sick of the “totally hypocritical” rules for the little people when our supposed betters are flaunting them.
“If it’s good enough for Gavin Newsom, it’s good enough for all of my clients,” Jordan said.
And, the move to keep his restaurant open is about “keeping my employees employed during this tough time of the year,” he added.
He said that he feels it’s “somewhat unfair,” stating that his business and employees have followed the rules and regulations when it comes to temperature checks, social distancing and masks, but “they [LA County] keep moving the goal line further and further back.”
The county’s three-week total restaurant shut down will supposedly ease before Christmas, but there’s no guarantee.
Jordan’s attitude isn’t just because he feels whipsawed by Baby Doc Garcetti and LA County, it’s because there’s NO SCIENCE that shows outdoor dining spreads the disease.
Reason Magazine reports that the LA County Health Director Barbara Ferrer believes that “dining experiences” contribute to COVID transmission, but she really doesn’t have the stats to back it up and refused to provide any when asked.
There’s no evidence that outdoor dining has contributed to the spread of COVID-19, nor has indoor dining been particularly risky. Los Angeles County public health data identifies 16 restaurants where the virus was spread, but this occurred among employees and not customers. Restaurants don’t even make the county’s top five list of COVID-19 exposure sites. The county has found that most restaurants comply with its health orders, and cases fell throughout the summer even while outdoor dining was permitted.
“Even if you’re outdoors, gathering with people you do not live with can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19,” said the county’s public health director, Barbara Ferrer. Though she estimates from the county’s contact tracing efforts that 10 to 15 percent of COVID-19 transmissions are linked to “dining experiences,” she hasn’t clarified how many of those transmissions were attributed to outdoor dining at restaurants and declined to provide the underlying data when quizzed by reporters at a recent press conference.
The health department’s own Instagram account shows that restaurants, much less outdoor dining, don’t make the list of super spreaders.
Restauranteur David Combs told Reason that the restaurant industry has been targeted because it’s politically expedient.
“It feels like we are being disadvantaged by a lack of process from L.A. County,” says Combes. “And now…for political optics…the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to shut down restaurants and bars.”
We’ll see how long it takes for the fun-takers to go after the French Laundry–sorry!–Eat at Joe’s.
Victoria Taft is the host of “The Adult in the Room Podcast With Victoria Taft” where you can hear her series on “Antifa Versus Mike Strickland.” Find it here. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, MeWe, Minds @VictoriaTaft