‘I’m Not An Asshole, The Governor Is’: Celebrity Chef Won’t Close Restaurants, Says Outdoor Dining Restrictions Are Unscientific

Couples toasting red wine at restaurant bar with face masks. Not the same dining establishment featured in story. By View Apart. Shutterstock

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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A celebrity chef has vowed his restaurant will stay open amid new coronavirus lockdown restrictions in California, according to a video he posted of himself on Twitter.

“Do we take the pandemic seriously? Of course we do,” Gruel said in his video. “Am I saying that we shouldn’t close outdoor dining? Yes, I am.”

Andrew Gruel, a former judge on Food Network’s Food Truck Face Off, is the founder, CEO and executive chef of Slapfish, a seafood restaurant franchise based in Huntington Beach, California, according to his website.

“There is zero scientific evidence that proves that outdoor dining is contributing to a rise in cases related to this,” Gruel said. “I can get on an airplane and I can fly and eat and do whatever I want – and don’t tell me it’s the HEPA filters, okay? Because that’s not the case. You don’t turn those on until you get onto the plane.”(RELATED: LA Judge Leaves Outdoor Dining Ban In Place But Demands To See Evidence Supporting The Policy)

Gruel also said that in addition to following the government’s advice and being shut down multiple times, small business owners have not been compensated for their efforts to protect customers.

“We shut down indoor dining? No problem. I’ve got a warehouse full of Plexiglas right now, okay? We went outdoors, alright? Now that’s getting shut down. I just put thousands of dollars into outdoor heaters.”

“I can go into Wal-Mart. Heck, I don’t even have to wear pants. Nobody wears a mask at Wal-Mart. I can go get a pink cockatoo for my Christmas tree, but I can’t go and dine outdoors at a restaurant. I can go to Target. Amazon is making tons of money. All big businesses are getting rich. Outdoor dining does not lead to any of that. Therefore, screw that. We’re staying open outdoors. It’s that simple. I’m not an asshole. The Governor is.”