Saturday, May 22, 2021


Here's a headline at Ben Shapiro's Daily Wire:
A Third Of California Restaurants Close Permanently Due To Lockdowns
But if you read the news story that's the basis for the Daily Wire post, you'll see that this high rate of closures isn't ascribed to lockdowns specifically.

The Wire post begins:
A little more than a year after Governor Gavin Newsom instituted the lockdowns, nearly a third of California restaurants have closed permanently.

According to The Associated Press, California’s lockdowns have left the food industry battered and bruised in the Golden State....
Here's what the AP story actually says:
Nearly a third of California’s restaurants permanently closed and two-thirds of workers at least temporarily lost their jobs as the pandemic set in more than a year ago and Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed the nation’s first statewide lockdown, a legislative committee reported Tuesday.
Were the business failures all the result of lockdowns? AP, citing the legislative report, implicitly blames the lockdowns and the pandemic itself. Even in the absence of lockdowns, many Californians would have chosen not to go to restaurants and linger over leisurely meals and drinks. We know this it true because it happened all over the country -- even in South Dakota, where the governor, Kristi Noem, famously boasted in March that her government "never ordered a single business or church to close, we never instituted a shelter-in-place order, we never mandated that people wear masks." In spite of that, South Dakota's Argus Leader reported in August,
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit South Dakota restaurants harder than just about any other industry in the state.

Six months into the pandemic, with the state economy mostly open for business, restaurants across the state are still struggling to make ends meet and keep their doors open as patrons and employees worry about spreading the potentially deadly coronavirus.

Since the pandemic began, nearly half of South Dakota’s restaurants experienced at least a temporary closure — often for as long as six weeks — and more than two-thirds laid off employees. Due to COVID-19, South Dakota restaurants have missed out on as much as $90 million in revenue, according to the National Restaurant Association, forcing some to close for good.
There were local restaurant shutdowns, but they were brief by California standards, and half of South Dakota's restaurants weren't shut down at all -- yet two-thirds laid off staff.

Even before the pandemic, the restaurant business in parts of California was often a victim of the state's economic success (and ever-increasing property values). San Francisco, with approximately 4,400 restaurants, lost 411 of them in 2019, the year before the pandemic.

And then there's the failure rate of all restaurants under normal conditions: 27% fail in their first year, 50% in their first three years.

So to blame lockdowns for all the restaurant closures in California last year is absurd. And what's the Wire's alternative? No pandemic restrictions whatsoever, even for restaurants and other businesses in densely packed cities? That was unthinkable -- except, I'm sure , to the sorts of people who read the Daily Wire.

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