LA County orders restaurants to suspend outdoor dining
Latest restriction is major blow to businesses that have depended on outdoor sales
Los Angeles County is suspending outdoor dining at restaurants for at least three weeks, the latest restriction imposed on businesses as cases of coronavirus continue to mount.
The suspension is scheduled to take effect at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times. It applies to restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars and is the first time since May that those businesses are limited to takeout and delivery only.
The news follows the state’s move to place 95 percent of California residents under a stay-at-home order from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. That began Saturday, and lasts for a month. Under the order, most nonessential activity is prohibited outside the home during those overnight hours in counties the state labeled as the highest tier of coronavirus transmission levels.
Meanwhile, outdoor dining has been a lifeline for many restaurants that have been under financial pressure following complete shutdowns in the spring. While indoor dining has remained off limits, outdoor dining continued despite surges over the summer, helping restaurants to do at least some business and landlords to receive their rent.
Health officials had warned that restrictions would kick in if the five-day average of new Covid cases hit 4,000 or if hospitalizations hit 1,750 per day. The five-day average hit 4,097 and hospitalizations hit 1,473 on Sunday, according to the report. The seven-day average is as high as it has ever been, and is rising. Deaths are also rising but not as dramatically.
Many restaurant owners were investing in outdoor furniture and heaters to prepare for outdoor dining through the winter. Dozens of restaurants have permanently closed this year. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch