Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Admiral Brett Giroir, the White House's COVID-19 testing czar, said on Monday there is no science to justify the outdoor dining bans that are being put in place in California.
Democratic leaders in the state have pushed for a ban on eating at restaurants outdoors due to rising cases of COVID-19, which has sparked outrage and protests from those in the restaurant industry.
"We obviously know what we’re doing, trying to save lives with these shutdowns, but as you can see with so many of the viral stories we saw over the weekend of that business owner in California it’s also shattering many lives. What do you say when you see those business owners struggling to survive and — and what they are going through, the sacrifice that they’re seeing?" Fox News anchor Sandra Smith asked.
"I see it every day even in my neighborhood with a restaurant in the basement on the first floor of my apartment. What really breaks my heart is that I don’t know of any data that says you need to shut down outdoor dining or outdoor bars. We really wanted to limit the indoor crowded places. So I think we need to do what’s necessary to turn the pandemic but not more that’s not evidence-based that’s going to be counterproductive," Giroir said.
Giroir said everyone on the White House's coronavirus task force agrees there is also no need to close schools and universities.
"I would like to see a little more individual attention to these places that have invested a lot of money and are probably safer than people having a house party with 100 people there. So you know, it’s time to nuance. This is not March or April, this is December. We know what the science says, we know that there are countermeasures that are effective," he continued. "And whatever the expression is throwing the baby out with the bathwater I think we could be causing a lot more harm by overly restrictive recommendations that are not supported by the science."
The weekend saw a lot of anti-lockdown activity in southern California, with protests occurring at different politicians' homes to get them to undo the ban on outdoor dining and lift other restrictions.