In a devastating blow to Los Angeles’ struggling restaurant industry, L.A. County public health officials on Sunday announced they will suspend outdoor dining at restaurants amid a surge of new coronavirus cases.
Few segments of the L.A. retail economy have been hit harder by the pandemic than the once-booming dining world, with many landmark names closing in recent months and many more on the brink. After they were forced to close indoor dining rooms in the spring, many eateries got a lifeline when officials allowed them to serve outdoors, often in patios and makeshift dining halls built in parking lots and streets.
The new rule takes effect at 10 p.m. Wednesday and restricts restaurants — along with breweries, wineries and bars — to takeout and delivery only for the first time since May. It will remain in place for at least three weeks, officials said.
Wineries and breweries can continue retail operations.
“The persistent high number of cases requires additional safety measures that limit mixing in settings where people are not wearing masks,” Barbara Ferrer, the L.A. County health director, said in a statement.
Officials had warned earlier in the week that the new rule would be imposed if the five-day average of new cases reached 4,000, or if hospitalizations topped 1,750 per day.