Coffee shop owner on joining businesses in pushing back against Calif. lockdown
Swork Coffee owner Patricia Neale Vuagniaux on declaring ‘peaceful protest’ amid heightening coronavirus restrictions in California.
A Los Angeles coffee shop was able to defy county coronavirus restrictions with a "peaceful protest," only to be hit by state orders.
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A California judge issued a ruling Tuesday that said Los Angeles County acted "arbitrarily" without rational justification when it banned outdoor dining late last month, but the victory was only symbolic given Gov. Gavin Newsom's overriding regional stay-at-home orders through the Christmas holiday.
"It looks like I'm going to have to stop my peaceful protest and bring my tables and chairs in," Patricia Neale Vuagniaux, Swork Coffee owner told "Fox & Friends First" Wednesday.
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"I'm just heartbroken. I'm heartbroken," the business owner said.
Vuagniaux says she got the idea from health department officials to peacefully protest but the new COVID-19 stay-at-home orders affect the area where her shop is located.
"I was basically only peacefully protesting for outdoor tables and chairs, so it's not as if it was a ton, so this was really disappointing because we're not actually dining, we're actually just sitting outside having a cup of coffee," she explained. "It's a gray area for coffee shops … and we're stuck in the middle."
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More than 110,000 restaurants across the nation have closed for good during the pandemic due to the lockdowns, according to the National Restaurant Association.
After nearly two decades in business, she says this is the first time she's thought about closing her doors.
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"I just wish people would really sense and feel for us as restaurateurs and just give us more support. I mean this is so hard. To open and close to open to close. It's been a nightmare," Vuagniaux said.
But the Swork Coffee owner said she is "absolutely" supported by the community of Eagle Rock, an L.A. neighborhood.
"They are amazing people and I'm so blessed to be there," Vuagniaux said.
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