by Ethan Yang
The American Institute for Economic Research
With small business owners struggling under the weight of lockdown orders, Los Angeles and New York City drew intense criticism recently for closing restaurants again. Los Angeles issued an outdoor dining ban on top of its existing indoor dining ban and New York an indoor dining ban which, with the coming winter cold, by default ends outdoor dining as well. Both these cities have been especially heavy-handed with their application of public health interventions, issuing different policies with alarming frequency. Such behavior in itself leads to confusion and turmoil as communities are forced into situations to which they can never adapt financially or socially.
In light of growing knowledge about Covid-19 as well as our experience with the outcomes of public health interventions, restaurant closures should not be seen as a sensible policy. Not only do they cause tremendous economic and social trauma, but they also lack strong scientific backing and legal consistency. Closing restaurants, especially at this stage in the pandemic, will not only lead to adverse public health consequences, but will also undermine the rule of law.