Orange County dining establishment owners were at their limit when Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed a curfew to curb the spread of coronavirus on Thursday Nov. 19. Now with the current shutdown, which eliminated on-premises dining, some are protesting.
A couple of restaurateurs have actually been anti-mask since day one, such as Basilico’s Pasta e Vino’s owner Tony Roman who has continued to defy mandates, even extending hours to 11 p.m. immediately after the 10 p.m. curfew was revealed.
Oak & Coal, are refusing to close outside service. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, Orange County Register/SCNG) Others are just revealing their views, or posting on social networks that they are refusing to close outside service since right now, right before the holidays, it‘s a matter of survival.
Jeff Chon, CEO and founder of Oak & & Coal in Costa Mesa and 5 places of Tabu Shabu in Southern California, posted a video on the subject that now has more than 40,000 views. He also penned a letter of protest and shared it with his colleagues in the market and they are beginning to repost it.
Eat Chow in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach reached out to its regulars with a note on Facebook on Saturday, Dec. 5. “To our valued clients, due to the Guv’s brand-new stay-at-home orders, please know that 80% of our staff is going to lose their income throughout the Holiday season. We need your viewpoint: should we remain open for outside dining?” The following day the dining establishment reposted Chon’s statement with a note that said, “After long reflection … we have actually made our final decision! We are remaining open for outside dining for both places.”
Did Memphis Cafe in Costa Mesa. “To our cherished clients,” began the dining establishment’s Facebook message, “Please think about the ethical issue we deal with having to lay off 85% of our staff understanding full well that joblessness won’t sustain them through the current shutdown; and without federal stimulus support for small companies they just won’t have a job to return to. We therefore have actually made the difficult decision to remain open for outside dining.”
Chon makes it clear that he is not political and he’s not anti-mask. He’s clearly worried about his clients’ safety, even outlining procedures in his missive. The letter entitled “Statement of Safe Accountable Service Non-Partisan Union of Small Company Owners,” states that “We, as responsible small company owners and operators, do hereby declare our objective to protest the current state stay at home order …”
The primary reason, he said, is concern for staff. “We can not, in excellent conscience, enable our workers and their households to have their health and safety jeopardized as resources to them have actually been exhausted.”
“Staff members are lacking benefits. Joblessness is not almost enough to get them through. Certainly PPP burned up months back. There truly isn’t much choice left for little restaurants,” Chon said in a followup interview. “We‘ve done everything in a safe way and we must be able to continue securely operating,” he said.
Restaurants typically run on slim profit margins and it’s heartbreaking to have to cut hours this near to Christmas, said Florent Marneau, who owns Marché Moderne with his partner Amelia. Marneau has always made it clear he is not political and is not involved in this or any protest. But he totally understands Chon and other protesters’ compassion for their personnels. Recently when he had to caution his group that a shutdown might be days away, it was painful, he said.
“It feels so bad,” Marneau said. “When I said, ‘I believe we’re going to have to shut down,’ the servers were demoralized, saying ‘Oh my God!’ And then someone said, ‘Can we break the rules?’ And I had to state no we can’t do that.”
Marché Moderne has always been determined to play by the rules. It’s getting increasingly difficult. Local restaurateurs have actually consistently said that a person of the most difficult obstacles throughout the pandemic is dealing with the state’s ever-changing policies, shutdowns and brand-new standards.
Bruno Serato, owner of the Anaheim White Home will follow the rules but he opposed them by revealing his views, providing tips for chilling out constraints in a declaration launched to the media today. “I am making an attract Gov. Newsom to reevaluate the 3-week lock down to a more modified version that does not ‘punish’ restaurants that are taking remarkable steps to safeguard our guests. I believe everybody restaurateurs must be able to continue operations with the following cautions: Limitation service to outside dining. Optimum 8 guests per table from no greater than 2 families. Closing time no later than 11 p.m.”
Are those who remain open anxious about the effects? “Enforcement has always been a big, big concern of ours,” Chon said. He pointed to the Orange County Constable Don Barnes’ statement that it was “a matter of personal duty” and to the hands-off mindset of the O.C. Health Care Agency, describing them as “extremely peaceful.”
”I have restaurants in San Diego and they’re a little bit more singing there,” Chon said. “Among my stores did get a cease- and-desist order. They’re kind empty dangers at the exact same time. They said it could be followed up and then they typically don’t follow up, since they I make sure they don’t have the workforce.”
The effects are fines or perhaps the loss of an alcohol license if the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control accuses a dining establishment of being a disorderly facilities as it did with Basilico’s in July for allowing indoor operations, which were not allowed at the time, keeping in mind that workers were not wearing face coverings.
The jury is still out on that one. “We are waiting for a scheduled time when the administrative hearing for that accusation can continue,” said an ABC spokesperson in an email. “There was a complete day of hearings but the matter was continued and we are awaiting the next date when all celebrations can attend.”
ABC mentioned that overall most restaurants are following the rules. It has made 113,777 website check outs throughout the state for compliance checks. An overall of 150 citations have actually been issued.
Being mentioned is a chance Chon and other restaurateurs are willing to take. “I believe it’s a misconception that us dining establishment owners are attempting to make our profits. We quit profits a very long time back,” Chon said.
“I have no problem comprehending that this year and more than likely the majority of next year is going to be a no-paycheck, no-profit year for me,” he said. “But what I have problem dealing with is that the rest of my life is skewed. And my workers, and their households, their lives are forever skewed. I can’t, in excellent conscience, accept that.”