A California restaurant owner has gone viral for his actions after blocking in a health inspector’s vehicle after the inspector threatened citations for being open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
What are the details?
In video obtained by the Daily Caller, Carlos Roman — owner of Bread and Barley in Covina, California — can be seen arguing with a police officer who is called to his restaurant after he moved his vehicle to block in a health inspector’s car.
The unnamed health inspector reportedly arrived at the restaurant, took photos of patrons dining outside the restaurant, and allegedly told Roman that he would be issuing a citation related to COVID-19 restriction orders.
According to KCBS-TV, the incident took place last Sunday outside the Covina restaurant when a health inspector came to enforce coronavirus guidelines at the restaurant.
“A citation from the health department said the inspector found two customers dining outside, which goes against current protocols,” KCBS reported. “Roman says they were on a public bench, and not his property.”
“We weren’t going out. We weren’t serving them,” Roman told the station.
Roman, who adamantly refused to move his vehicle after the confrontation with the inspector, said that if he and his employees could not work, the health inspectors would not be able to work, either.
“This isn’t about me,” he said of the closures. “They can’t pay their bills. The cook just had a baby. He’s with his family right now.”
The officer on the scene told Roman that a tow truck was on its way and would remove his truck from the premises if he refused to let the health inspector leave.
According to the Daily Caller, “The officer told Roman ‘it wasn’t [the health inspector’s] fault’ and that he was following orders from his supervisor.”
The officer also told Roman that his blocking the inspector’s vehicle “is not the way to settle things.” Roman ultimately moved his vehicle, but not before advising the officer and the inspector that he is desperate to feed his children.
“We’re all in this together, we’ll just all starve to death and die,” he said.
What else do we know about Roman’s situation?
KCBS reported that Roman invested thousands of dollars in his restaurant by opening an outdoor patio when outdoor dining was still permitted in Los Angeles County and even began digging into his own personal savings account to pay staff and serve customers.
“I think we have entered into the realm of a lose-lose situation,” he admitted.
A GoFundMe page to benefit Roman’s restaurant and employees has received more than $32,000 in donations at the time of this reporting.
In a statement, the Covina Police Department said, “The peace was kept and Mr. Roman’s vehicle was moved from the roadway, allowing the health inspector to leave. We have no information on citations or fines issued by L.A. County Health Inspectors as they are a different entity.”
The L.A. County Public Health Department has not responded to the Daily Caller’s request for comment at the time of this reporting, but KCBS reports that Roman is facing two $500 fines for failure to comply and interfering with the health officer.