Kings parade likely to affect worker productivity

LA Kings player Justin Williams raises the Stanley Cup into the air before the baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday. (Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles Times / June 14, 2012)

Thursday probably won’t be the most productive day for workers in downtown Los Angeles, as the KingsStanley Cup championship parade rolls through in the afternoon on its way to a celebratory rally at Staples Center and L.A. Live.

Streets will be closed along Figueroa Street, parking will be wretched and more than a few cubicle dwellers will abandon their desks to partake in the festivities.

“Im going to walk out on work … with my hockey stick just to celebrate the KINGS victory :D,” tweeted user Esteban Hernandez.

The events “mean extended lunch!” tweeted user ZEEK. “Whoop!”

Sports events have a long history of distracting workers. Employers paid out an estimated $175 million in wages to workers for time on the job spent sneaking peeks at games online, checking scores or managing office pool brackets during the first two days of the March Madness basketball tournament this year.

Many workers Thursday were also fretting about having to worm their way through traffic to get to their offices. Streets began closing for the parade before the morning rush hour Thursday.

“Math Problem.#Kings parade … from noon-2:30. Rally from 2:30-3:45 downtown. How early do I leave my house to get to work at 3:30?,” tweeted user Christopher Ly.

Workers should take alternate routes, tweeted Chief Greg Savelli of the city’s Parking Enforcement Operations & Traffic Control division.

“Or…skip work, join in the celebration and go home late!” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, event promoters were scrambling to hire extra workers for the event. NHL officials were warning consumers about fake merchandise sold on sidewalks.

Some business owners along the parade route, such as Cucina Rustica at Wilshire Boulevard and Figueroa Street, worried that the roadblocks would choke off customers’ access.

But when the restaurant’s owners called the city with their concerns, they got the runaround, according to manager Bill Wenzel.

“It’s like the marathon – the city puts it on and businesses just have to suffer,” he said. “I’m glad the Kings made it and that the parade is only for one day, but it’s going to affect us. We can’t even get our people into the building.”

Chris Hora, executive chef at Engine Co. No. 28 down the street, is expecting an influx of visitors at the bar but not as many for sit-down meals.

“We’ll see – we’re set up for it,” Hora said. “But the normal customers are going to be locked up in their offices, because anybody who doesn’t have to be out on the streets won’t be.”

Establishments in and around L.A. Live, however, will likely see a business boom, Hora said.

“If you had to buy a $600 ticket to get in [to the rally], you’re not going to be worried about buying a $20 burger,” he said.

At the Farm at L.A. Live, manager Victor Regalado expects double the eatery’s normal sales on Thursday. The restaurant doubled its on-duty staff for the day and asked them to come in earlier. Owners hired private security as well.

The space, usually sparsely populated during breakfast, was already nearly full, Regalado said.

“We’re pretty prepared, but we’re aware it’s going to be hectic,” he said.

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