"You Cannot Just Decide You're Going to Sell Groceries"

Remember when we used to make fun of the Soviet Union? At some point we became it. That's why nothing works and nothing gets done except passing around blame for the latest ineptitudes in a fossilized system whose only animating principle is bureaucracy. 

The Los Angeles County Health Department has started shutting down restaurants that have transformed themselves into pop-up grocery stores as a means to stay in business during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Just because you can be trusted to cook pasta, doesn't mean you can sell people toilet paper.

"We have plenty of toilet paper, plenty of produce and fruits and everything. So, instead of letting all this stuff go to waste, let's open up and offer it to the neighborhood," said Robert Kronfli, co-owner of Bacari restaurant in Playa Del Rey.

Because it's California. That's why.

Kronfli says area residents were flocking to his restaurant to buy over 40 items, including milk, meats, flour and other typical supermarket staples. But Bacari had to temporarily close on Friday,  when an LA County health inspector showed up and ordered it to "immediately cease all food sales" because the restaurant was "operating outside the scope of its permit," according to an inspection report obtained by the NBC4 I-Team.

Nearly a third of California restaurants could go out of business because of the stay-at-home orders mandated during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the California Restaurant Association. 

So, at least two dozen LA-area restaurants have converted into pop-up stores as a way to continue making money and stay open, like three Bacari restaurants in Playa Del Rey, West Hollywood and Glendale.

But the LA County Public Health Department clearly doesn't like that idea.

"You cannot just decide you're going to sell groceries,' said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, LA County's director of public health. 

Why not?

Imagine a country where you could. That country wouldn't be facing shortages of everything while huddled mobs spend their time screaming on social media at people for leaving the house.

Imagine a country where people could decide to make hand sanitizer or masks (most of the stories you're seeing are about exciting announcements from companies, but actually getting permission to do it from the FDA is another matter, much like a cafe selling groceries), that country would be able to get things done.


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