Los Angeles County has tightened its crackdown on surging Covid-19 cases by banning outdoor dining, leaving many restaurateurs with little hope of survival after trying to tailor their businesses to previous pandemic restrictions.
The ban on in-person dining, which already had been limited to outdoor service, will go into effect on Wednesday at the county’s restaurants, bars, wineries and breweries. The order will remain in effect for at least three weeks, the county’s government announced late Sunday. There were more than 4,500 new Covid-19 cases reported in the county on Saturday alone, compared with a daily average of about 1,000 a month earlier.
As new COVID-19 cases remain at alarming levels and the number of people hospitalized continue to increase, the LA County Health Officer Order will be modified to restrict dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars, effective Wednesday, November 25 at 10:00 p.m. pic.twitter.com/SQo08dF63A
— Los Angeles County (@CountyofLA) November 22, 2020
The move is devastating for restaurant owners, who already have suffered through a year of lockdowns, violent protests, a tourism collapse, and tight reopening restrictions. KTLA 5 reporter Christina Pascucci pointed out that many restaurants invested heavily to focus on outdoor service and were counting on Thanksgiving week, traditionally one of their busiest times of year, to bring in more revenue.
Interesting perspective from West Hollywood restaurateur David Combes and why he feels this lockdown isn’t based on science pic.twitter.com/bqRkK74Dek
— Christina Pascucci (@ChristinaKTLA) November 23, 2020
Celebrity restaurateur David Chang said even those businesses that are able to survive until spring face a long road to recovery, as the changing Covid-19 restrictions were even more crippling than a continual lockdown would have been.
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“Nothing will be the same,” Chang tweeted. “Entire independent industry is forever changed in a negative way. It’s f***ing infuriating.” He added that the latest order shows those who work in the restaurant industry what they’ve already known about their inept government overseers through nine months of pandemic: “We don’t give a f*** about you.”
Nothing will be the same…entire independent industry is forever changed in a negative way. It’s a fucking infuriating
— david chang (@davidchang) November 23, 2020
Celebrity chef Andrew Gruel pointed out the hypocrisy of the latest ban, saying that people are allowed to eat side-by-side while crammed onto a commercial airline flight, but can’t dine in an open-air setting. “Get ready for your local Walmart pop-up restaurant,” he quipped.
Outdoor dining is now banned in LA – but we can fly and eat side by side in a small box with masks off. Also, this move was sponsored by DoorDash. Get ready for your local Walmart pop-up restaurant.
— Chef Andrew Gruel (@ChefGruel) November 23, 2020
Data expert Justin Hart said Los Angeles County’s contract-tracing figures show that only 3.1 percent of tracked Covid-19 cases originated in restaurants, compared with 15 percent in grocery stores and 7.3 percent in government buildings. Restaurants ranked just outside of the top 10, and more than 99 percent of their cases involved staff, not customers.
I categorized the 204 businesses with outbreaks:
Groceries – 15%
Food Distribution – 11.3%
Manufacturing – 10.1%
Automotive – 7.39%
GOVERNMENT! – 7.27%
That’s right before you even come CLOSE to restaurants Government offices are one of the top 4 places to contract COVID19.
— Justin Hart (@justin_hart) November 23, 2020
Conservative radio host Dennis Prager said Americans must defy “tyrannical orders” like the new Los Angeles County dining ban. “It’s all done in the name of health,” he said. “Safety-ism it’s called. So don’t listen.”
Los Angeles has shut down all outdoor and indoor dining again, destroying small business owners!
Dennis Prager says it’s time to defy these tyrannical orders: The government has NO RIGHT to tell you you can’t make an income! pic.twitter.com/YG5lwAjZaa
— PragerU (@prageru) November 23, 2020
But some Californians were glad to see the dining ban. “Thanks for actually doing something,” photographer Ashley Osborn said. Screenwriter Garon Cockrell, a Black Lives Matter supporter, lamented that the Covid-19 restrictions haven’t been made strict enough: “Continuing to do the bare minimum every time. Shut down everything.”
Continuing to do the bare minimum every single time. SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING.
— Garon Cockrell #BlackLivesMatter (@MyNameIsGaron) November 22, 2020
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