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5 Dec, 2020 10:38

Owner of LA bar closed by Covid-19 restrictions decries ‘slap in the face’ as film company allowed to set up dining nearby

Owner of LA bar closed by Covid-19 restrictions decries ‘slap in the face’ as film company allowed to set up dining nearby

A Los Angeles bar owner barely held in her tears of outrage after discovering tents meant for feeding a movie crew erected right next to her restaurant, which was shut down and banned from serving outdoors due to Covid-19 rules.

“Tell me that this is dangerous, but right next to me as a slap in my face – that’s safe?” Angela Marsden says in a video pointing to two outdoor spaces, hers and that serving a movie company. The short clip, which highlights how small businesses in California are left behind and going under while large companies apparently get the green light to march on, has gone viral and won a massive outpouring of support.

Marsden owns Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill, a restaurant in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles. Like many other establishments, it was forced to shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, despite Marsden investing a reported $80,000 into making her facility safer.

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As such, she was furious when she discovered that a movie company had been allowed to set up tents to feed employees right in front of her bar, which has an outdoor dining area of its own. The film industry is considered essential by Los Angeles County and was allowed to operate despite coronavirus risks.

“I am losing everything. Everything I own is being taken away from me. And they set up a movie company right next to my outdoor patio!” Marsden said.

They have not given us money and they have shut us down. We cannot survive! My staff cannot survive!

Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill has been running in the neighborhood for over four decades, but unless it opens by February, Marsden may have to shut it down for good, she told local media. She and several other small business owners are organizing a protest against what they see as unfair treatment by Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Gavin Newsom.

The situation however is hardly unique for California. Throughout the US authorities have been deciding which forms of entertainment are essentials and which are not.

For example, the comedy show Saturday Night Live brought back a live audience in October in a move not in line with health guidelines. They got round the rules by compensating people for watching the show, which technically made them paid employees.

But some larger productions are still suffering. In New York, Broadway remains closed and isn’t currently slated to reopen until at least 2021. The Metropolitan Opera on Wednesday announced the cancellation of its entire 2020-21 season due to the pandemic, an ominous sign for the performing arts.

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