A Los Angeles-area restaurant owner who went viral in December for exposing the hypocrisy of the coronavirus restrictions in her city said the county's recent decision to reimpose a mask mandate will create "a lot of hostility."
Angela Marsden, the owner of Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill, told Fox News on Monday that Los Angeles County's decision to reimpose mask mandates beginning on Saturday will contribute to division in the city and confuse vaccinated Americans who believe they are protected from COVID-19.
"We had basically one month of complete freedom, of being able to be indoors and not have to wear a mask," Marsden said. "It's creating a lot of different feelings. It's creating anger, it's creating confusion, and the funny thing is it creates more vaccine hesitancy, in my opinion."
Last week, L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis informed reporters that the mask mandates would go back into effect because of rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. The county recently reported more than 1,000 new daily COVID-19 cases and public health officials have raised concerns over the Delta variant, a form of the COVID-19 disease that is more transmissible than other strains, though not necessarily more deadly.
The renewed mask mandate applies to everyone, vaccinated or not, even though current CDC guidelines indicated that fully vaccinated individuals are able to resume their normal lives without wearing a mask or social distancing. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva pushed back on the renewed mandates on Friday, explaining that police will not enforce the rules because "forcing the vaccinated and those who already contracted COVID-19 to wear masks indoors is not backed by science."
Marsden worries that the renewed restrictions will cause businesses to have a harder time finding employees to fill job openings.
"A lot of people don't want to come back to the restaurant business because they have anxiety that it's going to get shut down again or they'd have to wear a mask, a face shield," she said, explaining how the mandates affected her employees.
"Last August, in 120 degrees my servers were clocking eight miles in a shift running from the bar to outside with a face mask and a shield. I had two people almost have heat stroke on my patio and now we're putting masks on our face again.
"My manager, she's had COVID. She got vaccinated. And the second she found out that we were doing a mask mandate she also realized, 'wait a minute, I'm vaccinated and I can still get it?'" Marsden continued, adding that her manager is having "anxiety attacks" about contracting COVID-19 again after previously recovering.
"I don't understand the inconsistency, the confusion, and the fear-baiting that is basically being used by our leadership," she said.
Aside from the "psychological angst" inflicted on people by the return of the coronavirus restrictions, Marsden emphasized that the government was placing a burden on businesses, who will be required to enforce these restrictions or face punitive fines.
"As a small business owner, do you know hard it is for me to enforce a mask mandate when people are refusing to wear the mask? Nobody's there if I'm going to get punched in the face," she said.
"It's just insanity."