As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, LA County has shut down all outdoor dining, including restaurants, bars, breweries, and wineries. The order is set to go into effect Wednesday, 11/25 at 10pm, and last for at least three weeks. Restaurants will continue to be allowed to serve takeout and delivery.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, LA County Director of Public Health, made the announcement Sunday. LA has experienced a dramatic increase in daily new cases, and reached a five-day average of 4,097. That’s more than double what it was two weeks ago, and is near the peak the county experienced in July.
In October, Dr. Ferrer said that LA has “seen somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of cases being connected to a dining experience.” It is not clear what percentage of those numbers include people dining from separate households and spreading to diners at the same table.
This new order is going to put even more strain on restaurants struggling to stay open during this chaotic period. Last week, the county reduced outdoor dining capacity to 50%, after a roller coaster summer that involved multiple re-openings and re-closings of bars and indoor dining. The city, state, and national government responses have not been cohesive, nor has there been any financial assistance for restaurants since the initial round of PPP loans earlier this year.
To that end, LA County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger released a statement on Monday saying she opposed the shutdown, because it will “further devastate local businesses and employees who have been asked to shoulder an unfair burden this year.
“Businesses through the County have invested thousands of dollars to ensure safety for their employees and customers,” her statement continued, “only to be punished for the recent surge they have done everything in their power to prevent.”
County Supervisor Janice Hahn also tweeted today about her frustration with the process, saying that she “would have rather discussed this measure openly during our Board of Supervisors meeting so that the public could understand the rationale behind it.”
The numbers, though, have not been good in LA County. Hospitalizations are up to a three-day average of 1,401, and the positivity rate jumped to 6.1%, up from 4.0% at the beginning of the month. Ferrer also said that if cases continue to rise, and go above 4,500 in a five-day average, LA could enter a renewed mandatory stay-at-home order.