Shark Tank c0-host and CNBC contributor Kevin O’Leary called out some of the recent shutdown rules in Los Angeles, California on “Squawk Talk” Monday morning.
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced a state-wide lockdown for three weeks which includes orders for restaurants to shut down their outdoor dining. The announcement came shortly after California reached its highest COVID-19 infection rate to date, Eater San Francisco reported.
O’Leary, who has investments in the food service industry, told viewers that he has “a very simple question” regarding some of the recent rules imposed.
“How is it possible, when I’ve spent 60, 80,000 dollars on the back of the restaurant and the front of the restaurant to provide the seats and the heaters and complied with the city ordinance and was just about to re-open – no tents!” O’Leary pointed out. “This is not tented, this is outside with air flowing … I’m shut down.”
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) December 7, 2020
O’Leary continued on to note that while his restaurant is forced to shut down, “right across the street is a big box retailer with food services” including “open service courts inside the store.” These stores, he said, are allowed to remain open. (RELATED: Kevin O’Leary Slams Canadian ‘Politicians Spinning BS’ In His First Debate)
“So you’re telling me the viral load in the outside of my restaurant is higher than the viral load inside of the big box, which is enclosed?” the CNBC contributor asked. “That’s ridiculous! And there’s no science claim on this … how can outside be less safe then inside?”
O’Leary continued on to point out flaws with the rule and noted that as a result, his business has “to go bankrupt and all the employees” who work for him “have to be laid off for the third time.”
“This is totally unfair,” O’Leary said.
He isn’t the only one questioning the recent mandates put into place. Many are wondering why the rules have been put into effect and are calling out what they say are double standards. One woman, for example, noted that a film crew’s catering station next door to her now-closed outdoor dining center is allowed to remain open.
An unsigned statement backed the decision and wrote that “this is different from restaurants that serve different customers throughout the day” because people there are not lingering for “extended periods of time without their face covering,” according to The New York Times.