LA restaurant confronts health inspector over shutdown

Restaurant owner received a citation, two $500 fines over alleged violations of COVID-19 restrictions

As tens of thousands of small businesses and restaurants nationwide are forced to shutter during a second spike in the coronavirus pandemic, one Los Angeles County restaurant is pushing back.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom's decision to reinstate stay-at-home orders and prohibit outdoor dining on Dec. 6 dealt a shattering blow to already-wounded restaurants like Covina's Bread & Barley.

In its wake, the pub grub establishment's owner, Carlos Roman, confronted a county inspector who found customers dining outside and issued citations; a video of the encounter went viral over the weekend.

According to CBS Los Angeles, Roman contends the customers were sitting on a public bench, but the inspector gave the restaurant a citation and two $500 fines anyway.

Roman then parked his truck behind the health inspector's vehicle, and the police were called.

"He wants to come in and say, 'No one can work.' So, he can't work either," an un-masked Roman yelled in the video as officers attempted to defuse tensions.

“I’m desperate. Who is going to pay her car payment?" he asked, gesturing to the employee filming the encounter. "Who is going to pay my cook’s rent?”

Covina police later confirmed to Newsweek in a statement that Roman's truck was ultimately moved and "peace was kept."

Since then a GoFundMe campaign has been created to support the restaurant, raising more than $34,000.

The community has rallied around Bread & Barley, including Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who has pledged not to enforce the state's orders.


In another video, Roman thanked patrons and promised that he would not leave until law enforcement takes him out in handcuffs.

He said he would appeal the penalties, and continue to serve customers.

The confrontation highlights the struggle for business owners fighting to survive in a deadly pandemic that has forced government officials to make damaging economic choices to prevent infections and deaths.

Hospitals and medical centers in Los Angeles have had to turn away ambulances at their doors and extend intensive care units into gift shops and conference rooms.


On Monday, the Golden State once again recorded its highest number of new infections in a single day, though the average daily number of cases has fallen slightly.

“This would have been much, much worse had we not introduced some of these interventions,” Newsom, the governor, told reporters.