How The Oil Spill is Impacting Orange County’s Bar & Restaurant Business

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A recent oil spill caused by a pipeline owned by Amplify Energy released at least 126,000 gallons into the Pacific Ocean and led to beach closures in Orange County, hitting Huntington Beach particularly hard. Crude oil has washed up on the shore and turned Surf City’s downtown into a ghost town.

Bar and restaurant owners located near the pier have seen sales plummet, as visitors are told to stay away from the beach. Locals are known for their active lifestyle of surfing, skateboarding, cycling, and taking walks. But now, the city of 200,000 people has been forced to cancel and delay events that used to draw crowds of tourists — the lifeblood of small local businesses.

According to AP News, Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said the beach could be closed for weeks and even months. Losses to local businesses are estimated to have already reached hundreds of thousands of dollars, impacting local merchants especially hard.

The Pacific Air Show drew 1.5 million people on October 2nd, but the third day was canceled as oil started washing up on the shore and creating a thick stench.

The LA Times Food Bowl, A Great Day In The Stroke, and the NSSA National Surf competition have been postponed as well.

Carr said, “These were events that the locals were looking forward to and we know that there are visitors from out of town that come in, that reserve hotels for this. And obviously all of the bars and restaurants in the area, they all gear up for these big events. So, it’s really unfortunate we have to cancel all these things right now.”

In response to the oil spill, several beach businesses have filed a class-action lawsuit against Amplify Energy and its subsidiaries for the financial loss caused by the oil spill. Attorneys say more businesses are expected to join the class-action lawsuit.

Business Owner Billy Stade has seen business drop by 90% and hopes beaches will open safely as soon as possible. “A few weeks we could handle,” said Stade, “but months could be detrimental to our business.”


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