‘Great News, But They Should Have Done It Earlier’: Los Angeles Restaurants Begin Opening After Months Of Brutal Lockdown Orders

(Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Connor McCrory Journalist
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Los Angeles’ eight-week lockdown order is finally coming to an end Friday after months of extensive regulation from Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The return to outdoor dining is a ray of hope for Los Angeles business owners after December’s new COVID-19 regulations forced their establishments closed with yet another stay-at-home order. With restrictions already in place from Thanksgiving, the December order tightened regulations and only permitted restaurants that used pick-up and delivery services.

For many, these restricted services were not enough to make ends meet.

Angela Mardsen, owner of Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill in Sherman Oaks, went viral on Dec. 4 after posting a video on Twitter of her outrage against the shutdown.

While restrictions are now being lifted, Mardsen feels that the damage was already done.

“That’s great news, but they should have done it earlier,” she told The Daily Caller.

“I’m losing everything. Everything I own is being taken away from me, and they set up a movie company right next to my outdoor patio, which is right over here, people wonder why I’m protesting and why I have had enough,” Mardsen previously said in a video posted to Twitter. “We cannot survive. My staff cannot survive.”

While some followed Garcetti’s orders and stuck to voicing their opinions on social media, others flat out defied them.

Baret Lepejian, owner of Tin Horn Flats, a small family-owned restaurant located in Burbank, was among the first Los Angeles restaurant owners to defy the orders.

Lepejian kept his business open throughout the lockdown until he received over five notices from the city that would either modify, suspend or revoke their Conditional Use Permit (CUP) which allows them to operate legally.

Lepejian’s restaurant has been a staple in the community for over two decades, but he says the harsh rules imposed by officials keep setting him back. (RELATED: Takeout Only | How California Elites Crushed LA’s Local Restaurants)

“I’m going to lose my business anyway,” Lepejian told Eater LA in an interview, “So fuck it.” 

Andrew Binder, general manager of Los Angeles staple Phillipe’s, told the Daily Caller that the shutdown took an immense hit not only to their own funds, but to the restaurant community as a whole. 

“Personally, I have seen many of my favorite restaurants close permanently during this most recent outdoor dining ban over the holidays,” Binder told the Daily Caller.

“I would urge operators to contact the LA County board of supervisors to work with the Independent Hospitality Coalition during this re-opening phase to construct new safety guidelines that won’t have such a negative impact on already struggling restaurants,” he added.

Restaurant owners, including Binder, were outraged after they were informed of the most recent lockdown despite previously shelling out tens of thousands of dollars just to keep their businesses open through outdoor dining. 

Philippe’s will be open starting Jan. 30 with picnic tables, umbrellas and strict safety protocols which will remain their biggest priority for both staff and customers.