LA County appeals judge’s decision limiting ban on outdoor dining

Officials want ban extended, given high rate of Covid cases; judge wants to see more evidence on subject

(Getty, iStock)
(Getty, iStock)

Los Angeles County wants to renew its ban on outdoor dining, but a judge ruled last week it needed to provide more data on the subject. Now, the county is appealing that decision, according to the Los Angeles Times.

L.A. County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant ruled last week that the controversial ban shouldn’t be allowed to continue indefinitely without a risk-benefit analysis to justify it.

In its appeal on Thursday, the county called the judge’s decision “plainly erroneous and directly contrary to governing law,” according to the Times.

The county Department of Public Health argues that implementing and extending the ban is well within its powers. Officials said the latest wave of coronavirus cases in the county is justification enough for the outdoor dining ban.

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As of Thursday, there were zero ICU beds available countywide. There have been nearly 41,000 new cases of Covid-19 reported countywide this week, and 272 deaths. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s young daughter is among the new cases. The mayor and his family are quarantining as a result.

In explaining his decision, Judge Chalfant said county officials didn’t study the impacts of outdoor dining in the nine months leading up to the ban.

The county believes it’s “not a court’s prerogative to second-guess the county’s response to a public health crisis and to prescribe the evidence upon which public health officials may and may not rely.”

The state stay-at-home order still bars outdoor dining through Dec. 28. Restaurant owners and other business owners have fiercely opposed both measures. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch