By Michael Hernandez
VENTURA—A Dec. 14 Twitter story by Jorge Ventura Media on the Ventura County Health Department attempting to close down Nick The Greek restaurant, 440 E. Main Street, owned by Anton Van Happen, in downtown Ventura has gone viral with 2.5 million views.
The attempts to close the restaurant were picked up locally by KETY-TV (an ABC Santa Barbara television station), by CBS 2/KCAL 9 (Los Angeles), before airing nationally on the “Sean Hannity” Fox TV news Tuesday.
(Editor’s Note: To watch the Dec. 14 tweet go to: https://twitter.com/VenturaReport or https://keyt.com/news/ventura-county/2020/12/11/downtown-ventura-restaurants-defying-stay-at-home-order/.)
“My calling is to all the other restaurant owners to open your restaurants,” said Van Happen. “If we all open-up; they can’t do anything.
“I followed the rules! I continue to follow the rules and you guys still, time after time, are giving me citations, telling me I have to close my business,” Van Happen said on the posted video tweet to the two health inspectors that came to Nick The Greek and told him that his restaurant permit had been suspended, so the restaurant was already closed.
“I did not break any rule! I chose to protest by putting my tables outside. I never sold one single person outside. I did all take-out food and delivery. It’s not by law that you cannot sit outside and eat; that’s not law. That’s a form that I was given. Do you think outdoor dining should be banned?
“I have to close my business. Who’s gonna—are you gonna pay my rent? Are you gonna pay my rent?”
Van Halpern showed up yesterday after his Fox TV interview at Newbury Park Godspeak Calvary to hear Peggy Hall of The Healthy American on Fireside Chat 249 to share business solutions and tips for businesses—particularly restaurants—stay open for even indoor dining.
(Editor’s Note: To see the Citizens Journal story on Dec. 15 Fireside Chat 249 go to: https://www.citizensjournal.us/peggy-hall-opening-up-county-businesses-know-your-rights/. An “Open for Business” workshop was held by Peggy Hall of The Healthy American at Mrs. Olson’s Coffee Hut, 2800 Harbor Blvd., Oxnard attended by nearly 100. Another “Open for Business” workshop will be held Sunday, Dec. 20 from 2:30-5 p.m. in Thousand Oaks. To register go to: https://www.thehealthyamerican.org,)
“We have compiled and we did shut down,” said Jan Holguin, the owner of Casa Bella Restaurant, 391 E. Main St., Ventura, in a story aired by KEYT. “I am friends with every restaurant owner in downtown (Ventura). Everyone wants to open safely, following the protocols and doing it correctly. If we don’t, we might have thousands of people in our city that will not have a Christmas this year.”
Holguin said that last week’s restaurant protest was in response to a ruling from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant who found that LA. County health officials acted “arbitrarily” and without a proper “risk-benefit” analysis with their outdoor dining ban.
“By failing to weigh the benefits of an outdoor dining restriction against its costs, the county acted arbitrarily and its decision lacks a rational relationship to a legitimate end” Chalfant wrote in his ruling according to KABC-TV.
“We have been following the California Restaurant Association and the case came down in LA that the judge decided that outdoor dining was safe and the science was not there,” said Holguin to KEYT.
Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].
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I don’t understand! They said he was not following proper procedures! The Sheriffs’s department said they would educate not shut down??
He said he followed proper procedures.
It wasn’t the Sheriff’s who shut him down, it was the county health dept.
It’s not the sheriff’s office shutting him down. He’s in the City of Ventura, but it’s not the police from anywhere giving him the problems. It’s the “health inspectors” violating his civil rights.