A group of people, among them unemployed business owners and workers, gathered outside Long Beach City Hall Saturday to rally support for resuming in-person services at businesses and schools that have been restricted to curb drastically rising cases of COVID-19.

Derf Batshon, general manager at Baddeley’s Pourhouse, said he’s had to close the business three times.

“Enough is enough,” he said. “I have a whole staff that has left me wondering, ‘What are we going to do?'”

The state recently transitioned to restrictions tied to intensive care unit capacity and divided the state into regions. The Southern California region—which includes Los Angeles and Orange counties—reported 5.3% ICU capacity on Saturday, which is well below the 15% capacity threshold the state put in place. Los Angeles County reported nearly 14,000 new cases Friday, pushing the county over the cumulative half-million mark. The county two weeks ago was averaging 4,200 new cases per day, but this week’s average has climbed to 10,200.

Without federal relief support, such as CARES Act funding, and closures that will likely continue through the holidays, some business owners are feeling increasingly frustrated.

A group rallies at Long Beach City Hall, carrying signs and flags, calling for businesses and schools to reopen in-person services and criticizing local political figures such as Mayor Robert Garcia and Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. Photo by Sebastian Echeverry.

Long Beach resident and business owner Eric Christopher, who led Saturday’s rally, criticized political figures such as Mayor Robert Garcia and Gov. Gavin Newsom over their recent leadership choices including the closures.

“We acknowledge that there is a pandemic,” he said, “but this overreach is ridiculous.”

Pushback from business owners over mandatory restrictions has been present throughout the pandemic, but with the recent closures—just as news breaks about a successful vaccine to combat the virus emerges—the reaction has seemed to intensify.

Last month, the California Restaurant Association sued LA County in an effort to overturn the county’s plan to suspend in-person dining. While a judge rejected a restraining order to fend off the closures when they were announced, the lawsuit has carried on. Earlier this month, business owners led a “Accountability March” through Naples and Belmont Shore, to demand clarification on the state-mandated restrictions.

“Judging by what I see here and other places, we’re not going to stand for it anymore,” Christopher said.