It’s official: LA County allows outdoor dining on Fridays


California public health officials and Governor Gavin Newsom lifted all regional stay-at-home orders statewide today, marking the immediate return of on-site alfresco dining in Southern California – although there have been more than a few questions as to whether LA County will ease its own restrictions to follow suit. At a 2 p.m. press conference today, LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis said “Los Angeles would essentially align with the state by the end of the week” on its own. order of public health, calling specifically for the resumption of meals in the open air as a zone of rapprochement between the two orders. Los Angeles County Health Director Dr Barbara Ferrer later confirmed at the same press conference that the new local public health order would come into effect on Friday.

While official details on the reopening are yet to come, Dr Ferrer has hinted that capacity restrictions (to 50%) will be in place, adding that public health officials “will take a close look at protective gear. individual that workers use. in restaurants ”and other specifics when drawing up the reopening plan. It also includes stricter enforcement, “to make sure customers aren’t overcrowded, to limit exposure to each other with this virus,” Dr Ferrer said.

The return of on-site alfresco dining is seen by many as a huge relief for struggling restaurants, some of which have temporarily closed on hold as COVID-19 cases skyrocketed and sales declined over the years. last months ; others have made the unfortunate choice to close permanently. Of course, LA County is still not out of the woods, with its January 24 Daily report showing 8,243 new cases, 98 deaths and 6,697 ongoing hospitalizations. LA County’s intensive care capacity remains well below 1.5%, and 5,000 people have died in the county in less than a month from COVID-19, reports the Los Angeles Times.

“LA County remains in the purple level,” Dr. Ferrer said of the state’s return to the color-coded reopening level system, “and as many of you will remember, that is the most restrictive level, because we still have a lot of community transmission. ” Dr Ferrer stressed the need to continue to stay at home whenever possible, to socialize, to avoid large gatherings and to go for take out and take out whenever possible.

The purple level also means that other activities are allowed again, as shown below.

LA County reopening details
LA County Department of Public Health

In San Francisco, the mayor of London Breed announced a similar easing of local restrictions to allow limited alfresco dining. Breed’s website describes the new reopening guidelines that allow dining “with tables of no more than two households, up to six people, and spaced at least six feet apart.” Infection levels have dropped significantly there, compared to LA County, where infections are still significantly high and well above summer levels.

Keep in mind that this is (at least) Southern California’s second reopening since March 2020. Throughout the year, the posts have been chaotic at times, especially after the announcement of the reopening of restaurants. the same evening the announcement was made, leaving restaurants to scramble, to be informed weeks later of curfews in effect during police brutality protests in the spring.

Dr Ferrer’s statements today offered hope, but with caution – and a warning: “If people are not able to play by the rules,” she said, “if we have a lot of epidemics, we will be in the horrible position of having to turn back.


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