As COVID-19 rises, LA County shuts down all outdoor restaurants

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Public health officials have announced that alfresco dining at Los Angeles County restaurants will close on Wednesday, November 25. The change to the county’s public health order was announced on Sunday, November 22, and takes effect at 10 p.m. Wednesday, after which restaurants will only be able to offer take-out or delivery. During this period, there will be no on-site catering of any kind, indoors or outdoors, for at least three weeks.

The news, announced by county health director Dr Barbara Ferrer, comes as LA County (and indeed all of California) continues to be affected by the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Cases have tripled in the state in the past month alone, with LA County on average double the number of weekly cases compared to just two weeks ago. The counts are already subject to a new limited stay-at-home order, with residents subject to a curfew for all non-essential travel every evening from 10 p.m. to the next morning. Many businesses also have to close during these hours, although restaurants may continue to offer take-out and deliveries after 10 p.m.

The amended public health decree can be viewed here:

The decision to close sit-down restaurants entirely is just the latest blow for an industry that has been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic. Last week, restaurants were asked to reduce outdoor seating to 50% of capacity, while indoor restaurants have been closed in LA County since the summer. Meanwhile, the coronavirus continues to cause an untold amount of heartache, with the United States leading the world with more than 250,000 deaths to date.

The new county health order change is expected to last three weeks from November 25, although cases continue to rise and the holidays on the horizon – usually a time for family reunions, even with the pandemic – restaurants may not return to eat there for much longer than that. Eater has contacted the mayor’s office and Dr Ferrer, and will update if anything new comes back.

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