Los Angeles County Shuts Down Outdoor Dining


Until this week, alfresco dining was allowed in Avalon and appeared to be popular. Photo by Andrew Ficke

Impact on the local economy not yet known

Dining at the open-air restaurant in LA County (which includes Catalina Island) is currently on hold. The county issued new rules for restaurants that went into effect the day before Thanksgiving. The rules limit restaurants, bars and wineries to delivery and take-out only.

Captain John Hocking, commander of the Avalon Sheriff’s Station, said the public was allowed to eat outside. He cited park benches as an example of places where the public can eat outside. Restaurants, however, cannot provide them with a seat.

The announcement was made last weekend, just days after the governor imposed a statewide curfew on counties in the purple level of coronavirus restrictions. Los Angeles County has never left the purple level. “Catalina Island businesses are closely following the new guidelines put in place by Los Angeles County and the State of California,” wrote Jim Luttjohann, president and CEO of Love Catalina Island / Catalina Island Tourism Authority .

“While we regret the impact this will have on in-person meals, we are committed to protecting the health and safety of the community and encourage all visitors, residents and businesses to understand and follow sanitary guidelines,” said he wrote.

“The exact impacts on our local economy are unknown, but it will likely be another blow to an already injured and fragile situation with employees facing reduced wages, business owners and the city of Avalon seeing their incomes dwindle. and visitors find fewer dining opportunities on our island, ”Luttjohann wrote.

“At this time, retail attractions and tours are unaffected, so visitors can still take advantage of these options as well as take out or room service / food delivery,” Luttjohann wrote. .

Hocking expected local businesses to continue to comply with the rules.

“Staff at the Avalon Sheriff’s Station are aware of the updated LA County Health Ordinance and State Ordinance,” Hocking wrote in a Nov. 23 email. .

“Working with the City of Avalon and the County of Los Angeles, we will enforce the ordinances by educating the public and local businesses first. Despite the orders negatively affecting businesses, I am grateful that Avalon Companies have complied with all orders so far, and believe they will continue to do so. As a last resort, citations and criminal reports would be made, ”Hocking wrote.

“We don’t expect any challenges based on the size of the Avalon Sheriff’s Station,” Hocking wrote.

On Tuesday, November 24, county supervisor Janice Hahn, whose district includes Avalon, released a statement opposing the outdoor dining ban.

“I do not support the decision to close the outdoor restaurants at this time. It would be one thing if we had a new stimulus from the federal government so that we can help restaurants and people who lose their paychecks, but we are not. I don’t think we have the data to prove that alfresco dining is behind the recent surge in the number of cases, nor do we have the data to make sure this action will reverse our numbers. of cases. I’m also very worried that this will lead to more people coming together indoors, ”Hahn said.

“But I don’t want to give people the idea that we are not facing a crisis that demands action. We need you to stop getting together with your friends and family, especially indoors. Please cancel your plans: I know I did. This situation is serious. Our healthcare workers, workers and businesses are counting on us to turn the tide, ”Hahn said.

The supervisory board this week rejected a proposal to allow alfresco dining with 50 percent capacity.

The vote was 2-3. Supervisor Hahn and Supervisor Kathryn Barger seconded the proposal.

Los Angeles County Shuts Down Outdoor Dining


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