L.A. County to Halt In-Person Dining Amid COVID-19 Spike

MozzaMain- Outdoor dining photos- Publicity - H 2020
Kate Greenberg

Outdoor dining at Mozza over the summer.

Starting Wednesday night, restaurants and bars will only be able to offer take-out, drive-thru and delivery services.

Los Angeles County is set to stop in-person dining at restaurants and bars as it looks to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus as COVID-19 cases in the area have increased in recent days.

Starting Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 10 p.m. local time, restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars will only be able to offer take-out, drive-thru and delivery services, with wineries and breweries set to continue their retail operations, according to an order from the L.A. County health officer.

These restrictions, designed to reduce the spread of the virus in areas that could be prone to crowding and settings where people might not be wearing face coverings, will remain in effect for at least the next three weeks, the order added.

“As we modify our Thanksgiving holiday celebrations, we are reminded of the many families who will miss their loved ones who have passed away from COVID-19. We send wishes for healing and peace. The persistent high number of cases requires additional safety measures that limit mixing in settings where people are not wearing masks. We hope individuals continue to support restaurants, breweries and wineries by ordering for take-out or delivery," L.A. County's director of public health, Barbara Ferrer, said in a statement. "We also fervently hope every L.A. County resident supports all our businesses by following the Public Health directives that we know work to slow spread. Unfortunately, if our cases and hospitalizations continue to increase, we will need to issue further restrictions to protect our healthcare system and prevent more deaths.”

Pasadena will continue to allow outdoor dining past Wednesday, a spokesperson for the city announced to KCAL-9 on Monday. Though it falls within L.A. County, Pasadena has a separate health department.

The move comes as L.A. County posted 2,718 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, along with nine deaths, bringing the five-day average of new cases to 4,097. The county last week announced additional restrictions would take effect if the five-day average of cases tops 4,000 or hospitalizations top 1,750 per day.

If the five-day average of cases tops 4,500 or hospitalizations top 2,000 a day, a targeted "Safer at Home" order, with further restrictions, will be issued for an additional three weeks. Still, the public health office is urging people to stay home as much as possible for the next two-to-three weeks to slow the spread of the disease. As of Saturday, L.A. County is already subject to a curfew, announced for certain areas of the state of California, prohibiting nonessential gatherings between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. until the morning of Dec. 21.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is currently 1,401 with 26 percent of those people in the ICU. The number of hospitalized patients has increased by nearly 35 percent over the past seven days.

L.A. County has reported a total of 364,520 cases of COVID-19 and 7,438 deaths.

Nov. 23, 9:53 p.m. Updated with Pasadena's decision to keep outdoor dining open.