Tense video shows an LA restaurant owner at his limit with cops and a health department worker over coronavirus guidelines

  • A viral video posted on Facebook by "Bread and Barley," a restaurant in Covina, California shows owner Carlos Roman expressing frustration at authorities regarding coronavirus guidelines imposed on the outdoor seating area. 
  • "I'm desperate," he said to the police officer who arrived on the scene, according to the video. "Who's gonna pay my cook's rent."
  • "We've done our best to comply with all of these mandates and with all of these new rules that seem to be changing every week or so," Roman told Insider.
  • The LA public health department's protocol for restaurants as of December 11 states "all temporary outdoor seating areas at restaurants, breweries and wineries are closed to the public." 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A restaurant owner in Southern California expressed frustration over the public health department's enforcement of coronavirus guidelines in a video that is getting viral attention on social media.

In the video posted on Facebook by "Bread and Barley," a restaurant in the Los Angeles-area city of Covina, owner Carlos Roman claimed that a member of the health department said he could not allow people to eat outside of his restaurant on city property. Roman, who grew visibly angry, had used his truck to block what appeared to be the health inspector's car. 

"I'm desperate," Ramos said to the police officer who arrived on scene, according to the video. "Who's gonna pay my cook's rent?"

"I understand you're upset, a lot of people are upset," the police officer said in the video while attempting to diffuse the situation and asking Roman to move his truck. The Covina Police department's chief of police did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

Roman told Insider some customers were sitting at a public bench and at the restaurant's outdoor table with the food they had taken out from the restaurant. Roman said the restaurant did not serve customers at the outdoor dining area. 

"[I] was angry and upset that they were gonna push me to where I had to actually enforce some sort of authority outside and enforce this kind of rule. I'm not gonna do that. I can't chase my customers away," Roman said, explaining that he had arrived at the scene after receiving a phone call from one of his staff about the situation. He added that he blocked the health inspector who was in his car and knocked on the window to ask him what he was doing wrong.

"I was angry," Roman said. 

Roman said the public health inspector returned the next day with a citation. The Los Angeles Public Health Department lists three violations for "Bread and Barley" on December 20, including "COVID-19 customer seating," "COVID-19 limit operations," and "interfering with a health officer." A re-inspection two days later lists no violations, according to the public health department. The health department did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

"We've done our best to comply with all of these mandates and with all of these new rules that seem to be changing every week or so," Roman told Insider. "It's just getting to a point where they're locking us down so tightly that now we can't make a living, and the restaurant's on the verge of going out of business [because] there just isn't enough business."

The LA public health department's protocol for restaurants as of December 11 bans the serving food or beverages to customers, indoors or outdoors, and "all temporary outdoor seating areas at restaurants, breweries and wineries are closed to the public." 

California has more than 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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