Los Angeles, CA – A Los Angeles County lawmaker is being called a hypocrite after she was caught eating at her favorite restaurant just hours after she voted to ban outdoor dining at 31,000 restaurants in the county.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl voted on Nov. 24 to uphold a countywide ban on outdoor dining, citing dangers from the coronavirus pandemic, KCAL reported.
The ban, which went into effect the next day, passed by a vote of 3-2.
Under the latest ban by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, restaurants may only offer drive-through, take-out, and delivery services to customers, KCAL reported.
“Outdoor dining is probably more dangerous in terms of contagion than any other kind of business,” Kuehl told her colleagues on the day of the vote. “This is a serious health emergency and we must take it seriously.”
“And then there’s the issue of the six foot distance,” she said in the virtual meeting, according to KTTV. “It’s a big of magical thinking on everyone’s part to think that at any restaurant, anywhere, the server keeps a six-foot distance from the table where he or she is taking an order.”
“So the servers are not protected from us and they’re not protected from their other six tables they’re serving at that particular time, plus all of the hours in which they’re working. So it is a most dangerous situation for them,” Kuehl concluded.
But not so dangerous that the county supervisor took her own advice, KTTV reported.
Just a few hours later, Kuehl was spotted dining at a table on the sidewalk outside her favorite restaurant, Il Forno Trattoria in Santa Monica.
Restaurant owners were furious and called out Kuehl for her hypocrisy, KTTV reported.
“That sends a message that we’re getting direction from people that aren’t really believing in messages they’re making,” restauranteur Michael Voltaggio said. “For me it’s just proof of the continuous hypocrisy and just the lack of leadership and education as to what’s happening right now in this sort of shoot from the hip mentality that’s not doing anybody any good.”
Josiah Citrin, who owns several restaurants in Los Angeles County, couldn’t help laughing at the ridiculousness of Kuehl’s behavior, KTTV reported.
“I’m like wait a minute, restaurants are so dangerous, but you’re gonna go eat in a restaurant? I mean it just blows me away,” Citrin said.
Fellow Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn strongly opposed the ban on outdoor dining and called out Kuehl’s shenanigans, KTTV reported.
“We have to remember that we who are in public office are held to a very high standard as we should be and one of the things I’m realizing with some of these new restrictions is if we can’t garner the trust of the public to be with us in this fight against the virus, then we’ve lost a big battle and I’m feeling that now nine months into this is we’re beginning to lose the trust of the public,” Hahn explained.
Kuehl’s spokeswoman released a statement on Monday night that confirmed reports and defended the county supervisor’s action, KCAL reported.
“Supervisor Kuehl has eaten at IL Forno virtually every night for many years, and on the last night that it was permitted by county health orders, she dined there alfresco, taking appropriate precautions as recommended by the Department of Public Health,” the statement read. “Since the restaurant patio ban went into effect, she is doing everything she can to continue to support the restaurant, ordering takeout nightly. She hopes other county residents will take similar steps to support their favorite restaurants while we get through this challenging period.”