Business Coalition Blasts Supervisors for Approving Restaurant Closure Order

California Coalition for Safe Reopening leaders Nick Rimedio (left), Colin Diaz and Genevieve Morrill

Area businesses are fighting back against the ban on in-person dining in Los Angeles County restaurants which goes into effect Wednesday night.

The recently formed California Coalition for Safe Reopening blasted the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors 3-2 decision on Tuesday to implement the ban in an effort to stem the surge of COVID-19 cases.

In the past week, Los Angeles County has averaged over 4,381 new cases a day, while hospitalizations have more than doubled in the past month to 1,682 people hospitalized on Wednesday with 25% of these people in the ICU.

During a press conference held Wednesday at WeHo’s The Abbey, Coalition co-founder Genevieve Morrill said this temporary closure order could wind up closing restaurants permanently and put their workers on the unemployment line.

“We are frustrated with the lack of coordination of reopening and arbitrariness of most recent closure orders with no real scientific data behind it, only assumptions,” said Morrill, who is also the president of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

She called the Supervisors action “cruel” no matter how well intentioned it was.

“While we mourn the lives lost, we cannot forget the living who are literally struggling to survive,” said Morrill. “Our county and state government has abandoned us. Our economy is now a public health issue as well.”

Colin Diaz, the Coalition’s other co-founder, criticized the Supervisors saying they should have had a plan in place to help business owners and displaced workers who will be laid off before approving the in-person dining ban.

“A lot of these business will not be able to make it through yet another closure, leading to a loss of more than 10,000 jobs,” said Diaz who is also president of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce. “Job loss that will hit individuals, families, households during the holidays with no financial aid in sight.”

West Hollywood City Councilmember John D’Amico echoed those sentiments.

“The Board of Supervisors just laid off tens of thousands of people including many West Hollywood residents based on junk science and a need to look like they are doing something,” said D’Amico. “All of this one month before Christmas. To that I say ‘Bah, Humbug’.”

D’Amico proposed that instead of closing businesses, the county should be expanding business hours with strong regulations and careful code compliance supervision.

The Coalition called on the state to create a Safe Reopening Task Force to identify sustainable, long-term solutions for reopening. It also wants greater resources and empowerment of local authorities to make decisions on a local level.

Finally, the Coalition called for the creation of a California COVID-19 Emergency Business Interruption Fund to provide grants to businesses for any future unanticipated closures.

The Coalition, which is made up of 50 Southern California chambers of commerce and business organizations, plans a protest march on Dec. 12 at 12 noon at a yet to be determined location. All business employees and employers impacted by layoffs are invited to participate.

David Cooley

Abbey owner David Cooley discussed the difficulty of adapting to the ever-changing re-opening rules the county and state have put into place in the past five months, saying each new rule proved costly to him.

He fought back tears saying this latest closure order would likely put him out of business permanently. He noted shuttering The Abbey not only affects his employees, but also affects the companies which supply him, the janitorial service he uses, etc.

Cooley noted recent studies show only 10% to 15% of virus transmission occurs at restaurants. West Hollywood City Councilmember Lauren Meister noted that transmission occurring at recent marches, protests and celebrations apparently isn’t even being considered as a possible cause for the virus spike.

West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce chair and La Peer Hotel general manager Nick Rimedio stated, “We’re asking our cities and counties to publicly join their small businesses in this call for a return to common sense that protects communities from well-intentioned but economically devasting public policy.”

Rimedio urged California Governor Gavin Newsom to find alternatives to shutting down businesses as a way to control spread of the virus and to create reopening standards that other states can then emulate.

Greg Horos, who is a co-owner of the LoCali restaurants (the West Hollywood branch shut its doors a few months ago due to the earlier shutdown), called for county authorities to reveal the exact metrics being used to determine decisions that affect whether a business can operate and whether people can earn a living.

Horos said small businesses must be allowed to survive and thrive.

“Amazon and Facebook will not be the last ones standing,” said Horos. “We will fight because small businesses are the engines that drive this economy.”

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Danielle Harris
Danielle Harris
1 month ago

Where was our mayor Lindsey Horvath on this? Silence. She claims to support the restaurants and local businesses but won’t dare go up against Sheila Kuehl. She doesn’t stand up to the corrupt Sheriff either. All politics and no real representation for WeHo residents!

Gdaddy
Gdaddy
1 month ago

Write up a story on Shelia Kuehl who voted to shut down restaurants calling eating outdoors, “Most Dangerous,” and immediately afterwards went to dine out: https://www.foxla.com/news/la-county-supervisor-dines-at-restaurant-hours-after-voting-to-ban-outdoor-dining
Here is her email: sheila@bos.lacounty.gov

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  Gdaddy

When Sheila Kuehl was on the Santa Monica City Council (or was it the Westside Board of Supervisors?) she wanted to require that before any home in the city could be sold it had to be retrofitted to accommodate the disabled. Do you have any idea how many thousands of dollars that would cost if every homeowner had to reconstruct their home to meet the requirements for whatever disability a potential buyer may have? Few homeowners would be able to afford it. Imagine putting an elevator in your two bedroom condo. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and it didn’t happen, but… Read more »

DontTread
DontTread
1 month ago

At a certain point we have to resist this unprecedented abuse of power by these career beaurocrats, the cockroaches of societies immemorial.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago

Seriously, “junk science”??? Have you ever worked in a restaurant kitchen? Even if there is adequate space for patrons to socially distance the conditions for those working in the restaurant industry are quite different and employees are certainly at a greater risk than patrons. We can’t just focus on the health and well being of the patrons, we have to remember that the bus boys, dish washers and line cooks are working in challenging conditions even when there isn’t a pandemic. We all hate these closures and we want to help our local businesses but we need to adhere to… Read more »

Michael S.
Michael S.
1 month ago

My cousin is a server in a local restaurant (with outside seating), she says none of the cooks back in their kitchen wear masks or bother to take any precautions. The owners know this but don’t care, nobody checks and customers can’t see. Tables are pushed too close together to squeeze more people in. She’s frequently warning me not to eat out anywhere until we are all vaccinated – these conditions are more the norm than the exception for restaurants during Covid. Unless we have rigorous daily inspections from city officials, then you are seriously risking your health dining out.

Last edited 1 month ago by Michael S.
WeHoldTheseTruths
WeHoldTheseTruths
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael S.

Sorry. You’re either lying or not referring to a restaurant in west hollywood.

Ron Hamill
Ron Hamill
1 month ago

I saw people in the last few months dining, for the most part, safely from Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood to Studio City where I live. Temperatures and social distancing were being adhered to, again, for the most part. I believe the rule was if there was to be dining, then it has to be outside. Open air places like The Abbey and other restaurants that have extensive outdoor dining patios continued their business. Other restaurants built platforms and temporary decks with acrylic guards in place. Yet other restaurants erected tents and structures with roofs and windows. These restaurants… Read more »

Ron Hamill
Ron Hamill
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron Hamill

I will also qualify what I said above in that I feel for the employees and business owners of all the restaurants who are now out of work. I didn’t mention it earlier because I felt it had been covered in other comments.

Eric Jon Schmidt
Eric Jon Schmidt
1 month ago

Morrill says: “While we mourn the lives lost, we cannot forget the living who are literally struggling to survive,” Sounds to me like she doesn’t care if more people die, as long as there is money to be made. In my opinion, she has a screw loose just like trump. She is suffering from denial and motivated by cash.

kev
kev
1 month ago

her standing there maskless with her fist in the air tells you everything you need to know about a person. encouraging/demanding that appropriate caution be thrown to the wind in order to stroke business owners at all costs tells you everything you need to know also. the safety of residents and employees are viewed as impediments to CASH FLOW, and are therefore to be rebelled against at all costs? trumpian indeed.

Dave B
Dave B
1 month ago

Lol. You get what you vote for. Meanwhile, Newsom dines at the French Laundry…

Michael Grace
Michael Grace
1 month ago

Applause to John D’Amico, Nick Rimedio and the business leaders for their comments. Just boycott and demonstrate against the shutdown. They are in L.A. I had dinner last night on Sunset Blvd. Italian restaurant. Ontdoors. These three LA County dreadful political hacks should be voted out of office. They have been feeding off the taxpayer’s dollars for years. They qualify as Nazicrats. Supervisors Sheila Kuehl, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis. Protest. The police aren’t going to arrest you. These sleazebag political “leaders” hate the police and sheriff. These supervisors are dangerous clowns. They are now about as popular as Hitler… Read more »

oops
oops
1 month ago

Genevieve Morrill and the West Hollywood chamber of commerce fighting the fight. from what I have heard she laid off her staff back in march, sending her own team to the unemployment line only to hire an all new staff since then.

Jay
Jay
1 month ago

Fact: L.A County is now estimating 1 in 145 County residents is currently (right now!) capable of infecting others, closing in on the late-June high of 1 in 140. Fact: L.A. County is now estimating the highest transmission rate since the pandemic began- 1.27- a recipe for exponential increase. Fact: Measures until now were obviously insufficient. Fact: 10-15% of cases in the County are thought to have come from outdoor restaurant dining. Fact: Temporarily closing outdoor dining will therefore logically reduce the transmission coefficient at a crucial moment, and due to the crushing reality of exponential arithmetic, any delay in… Read more »

John
John
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay

Fact: Only two people 18 and under have died from Covid in CA (and both had medical conditions).

This is not logical for the majority of people…protect those that are older and/or have medical conditions.

Fact: This virus has little risk for the young and healthy.

Fact: More people under the age of 18 die from the flu than covid…not even close.

Peter T
Peter T
1 month ago
Reply to  John

People under 18 are not allowed to legally drink at any restaurant or bar

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  John

The young and healthy can spread the virus even if they have no symptoms. Yes many people are upset they can’t go to restaurants right now; unfortunately I have many friends who, due to COVID unemployment, can’t even afford their rent much less hanging out at the Abbey. We have to stop the virus before we can fully open up the economy; that is the science.

Brad
Brad
1 month ago

Cooley tears – give me a break – sell one of ur houses. You might be the most self serving persons in the city.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  Brad

I was waiting for someone to say what you just did here, Brad. It’s so predictable for so many to assume that the rich don’t have mortgages and other debt and obligations you know nothing about, nor do you have any idea what charities they may fund. Most people don’t have the courage to take the risks to achieve what they have. They provide a service that makes this community the great place to live that it is, yet your snide remark belittles that, and suggests to me that you’re not likely to ever come anywhere near accomplishing what Cooley… Read more »

Gdaddy
Gdaddy
1 month ago
Reply to  Brad

While I agree with Cooley, the tears really annoyed me also…guy lives in a $40 million house in Trousdale Estates. The Abbey will survive this.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  Gdaddy

Wouldn’t you likely get emotional if you thought you might lose your home? The market for $40 million houses is pretty small. Cooley may lose everything he has invested in that house.

greeneyedboy
greeneyedboy
1 month ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

SOMEBODY THINK OF THE RICH PEOPLE!

Those poor unfortunate souls!