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Los Angeles County Supervisor Dined ‘Al Fresco’ After Voting to Ban Outdoor Dining

By Melanie Arter | December 1, 2020 | 11:00am EST
People enjoy outdoor dining Los Angeles, California on July 1, 2020, where new regulations in some counties for certain businesses have come into effect again as coronavirus cases hit record highs.  (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
People enjoy outdoor dining Los Angeles, California on July 1, 2020, where new regulations in some counties for certain businesses have come into effect again as coronavirus cases hit record highs. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl voted last week to ban outdoor dining at restaurants because of the coronavirus, and hours later dined outside at an Italian restaurant in Santa Monica, Fox 11 reports.

At the Board of Supervisors meeting last Tuesday, Kuehl called outdoor dining “a most dangerous situation,” claiming that servers are at risk of contracting COVID-19 from diners.

“The servers are not protected from us, and they’re not protected from their other tables that they’re serving at that particular time, plus all the hours in which they’re working,” Kuehl said at the time.

Although Kuehl’s visit to Il Forno Trattoria took place a day before the ban went into effect on last Wednesday, her actions are seen as the latest example of hypocrisy by public officials.

A spokesman for Kuehl gave a statement to Fox 11, saying, “She did dine al fresco at Il Forno on the very last day it was permissible. She loves Il Forno, has been saddened to see it, like so many restaurants, suffer from a decline in revenue. She ate there, taking appropriate precautions, and sadly will not dine there again until our Public Health Orders permit.”

Local restaurant owner Michael Voltaggio said Kuehl’s actions are “proof of continuous hypocrisy.”

“That sends a message that we’re getting direction from people that aren’t really believing in messages they’re making," Voltaggio told Fox 11.

"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,” he said.

L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who voted against the ban, told Fox 11, “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.”

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