Restaurants in Carlsbad Village Continue In-Person Dining as Peaceful Protest

The state's Regional Stay-at-home order prohibits in-person dining, but several Carlsbad restaurant owners continued operations this weekend

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Several businesses in Carlsbad Village are taking a stand against the state’s Regional stay-at-home order. A group of restaurant owners are seating in-person diners as a peaceful protest.

“This is not a political move. It has nothing to do with us trying to go against Gavin Newsom and the government. It is purely to save our businesses and to provide for our employees so they can provide for their families,” said Annie Rammel, an owner of OAK + Elixir Wine Beer Eatery in Carlsbad Village.

She said on Sunday she and her staff prepared to close the shop and say their goodbyes.

The Regional stay-at-home order, which prohibits in-person dining, took effect Monday. It will last at least three weeks, but Rammel said she is concerned it will last much longer since San Diego County is part of the Southern California region, which includes larger counties, like Los Angeles, which have less ICU capacity than San Diego County.

“I was crying. It was devastating. They (employees) said Merry Christmas and I just kept thinking, this is not a Merry Christmas, so I started to walk around to restaurants to see if anyone else felt the way I felt,” explained Rammel.  

She said she gathered more than 30 local business owners who all agreed to keep their doors open. About 15 of them posted signs in front of their patios that read, “This space is being used as a peaceful protest to protect the rights of restaurants and small businesses”.

Rammel said Carlsbad police spoke with her Friday night, the first night they reopened for in-person dining.

“They didn’t say anything, they just gave us a box of masks and an informational sheet to be social distancing, to wash our hands and wear masks,” she said.

She said the recommendations she received are safety protocols she and her staff have been practicing for months.

“I know that there are a lot of people who disagree with what we’re doing, but I think if they were responsible for employees that weren’t able to put food on their tables, they’d make the same decision I’m making,” Rammel said.

Rammel said she is grateful for those who are supporting her decision.

“Thank you for helping me save my business. This is what you see, people want to live their life and we have the right to make that choice,” Rammel said as she pointed to her full patio.

San Diego County sheriff's deputies were seen patrolling the area by car and foot Saturday night. NBC 7 reached out to the County of San Diego and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, but have not received a response.

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