A “Shark Tank” investor worth hundreds of millions is increasingly agitated with what he perceives to be unfair and inconsistent COVID-19 restrictions.
Kevin O’Leary told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday that the application of various shutdowns – particularly those in Los Angeles County – hurts business operators by limiting the amount of planning they can do.
“My question is very simple: Who decides?” said O’Leary, whose value is pegged by Celebrity Net Worth at $400 million. “Is it at the city level, the state level, the federal level? Tell me what the rules are so I can make economic decisions on behalf of my employees.”
As of midnight Sunday, most of Southern California fell under a stay-at-home order as the capacity at hospital intensive care units fell below 15%.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s policy limits capacity at retail stores to 20%, bans outdoor dining and limits restaurants to takeout and delivery.
Bay Area health officials preempted the expected ICU crisis there, and the region went into lockdown on Sunday night.
“There are no rules. They’re not the same. It’s total chaos out there. It’s … totally unfair,” O’Leary said, adding that businesses already had spent tens of thousands for heaters and other accommodations to serve food in parking lots or alleyways.
“I’m not even saying open them inside,” he said.
The proposed $908 billion coronavirus stimulus bill would provide roughly $300 in extra federal weekly unemployment benefits, but it won’t include another round of $1,200 checks to individuals.
O’Leary lamented the fact that the relief money, as it did in March, includes Paycheck Protection Program loans primarily to businesses.
“That PPP program back in March was a blunt instrument and, as far as I’m concerned, a failure,” O’Leary said. “Stop funding the companies and give it to the actual employees at this point.”