A California restaurant owner was seen on camera blocking a health inspector’s car as he pleaded that he needed to remain open to pay his employees.
“I’m desperate. Who is going to pay her car payment? Who is going to pay my cook’s rent?” Carlos Roman, of the restaurant Bread & Barley, is heard saying in the video as he blocks the health inspector’s car.
The incident unfolded earlier this month when a health inspector traveled to the establishment to make sure coronavirus restrictions were followed.
A local Los Angeles outlet reported that a citation from the health department found two people eating outside, which is against coronavirus restrictions. Roman fired back at the claim that the two people were on a public bench, and his staff did not go out to serve them.
Police also responded to the scene.
“[The health inspector] decided to come today and take pictures of people outside, and saying that he’s going to fine us and we can’t work out here,” Roman told police.
“If I can’t work, he can’t work,” Roman added while blocking the health inspector’s car.
“This is what happens when people get desperate. I’m desperate. Who’s going to pay [my employee’s] parking? Who’s going to pay my cook’s rent?” the owner asked. “[The health inspector] needs to know how hard it is.”
“Did you get a paycheck on Friday?” Roman asked the inspector. “Did you get a paycheck? My people don’t. I bet you got a paycheck, didn’t you? You’re just doing your job, right? We’re all in this together? When I go to the bank I can tell the bank the health department said it’s OK? The health department said I don’t have to pay you? The health department said I can’t make a living?”
The police told him blocking the car wouldn’t solve any problems and that he should talk to supervisors within the health department. Roman, however, said he had been doing that.
“What do I got to do? A bunch of f—ing idiots burned down LA and everyone responds, ‘Oh, let’s respond to that.’ Is that what we have to do? We all have to march and go burn the f—ing city down?” Roman added.
A GoFundMe page was established for the restaurant after the incident, saying, “Bread & Barley was forced to shut down by a health inspector and we want to help them fight back.”
The restaurant also received two $500 fines for failure to comply and interfering with a health inspector, according to CBS Los Angeles.