LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A restaurant owner who was forced to shut down because of coronavirus restrictions is frustrated after a film crew was able to set up outdoor dining for its workers right across from her restaurant.
Angela Marsden, who owns Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill, said her anger isn’t toward the movie industry, but because she believes restaurants are being unfairly targeted by Los Angeles County health orders.
“Tell me that this is dangerous but next to me is a slap in my face,” Marsden said. “Everything I own is being taken away from me and they set up a movie company right next to my outdoor patio.”
Under the county’s guidelines, video and music production is deemed essential. Many production crews also test employees frequently, while under the recent Los Angeles County health order, restaurants like Marsden’s were forced to shut down their outdoor dining.
Marsden says she spent close to $80,000 building and making her facility coronavirus compliant, only to be told her doors had to remain shut for in-person dining.
“You can’t eat here, but you can walk in the same parking lot 15 feet and you can eat alfresco on a movie set because I guess COVID doesn’t go there right,” Marsden said.
Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill has been a Sherman Oaks staple for more than 40 years, and due to the strain of the pandemic, could be on the brink of shutting down for good.
“If I’m not open by February, I will no longer be here,” Marsden said. “My restaurant can’t open for to-go, what little money we have I have to try to hold on to for the hopes that we’ll get to go to outdoor dining again, which is why I’m fighting so hard to get it open again.”
Marsden, along with several industry friends, plan to hold a protest on Saturday to get the attention of county leaders.
She’s hoping county leaders will hear the devastation so many restaurant owners are facing.
Beyond their efforts, the fight to reopen restaurants has gone to court. A judge has not ruled in the favor of reopening in-person dining, but this week asked county leaders to provide evidence to prove restaurants really do pose a risk for coronavirus transmission.