Los Angeles County Prohibits Outdoor Dining for At Least Three Weeks

Meanwhile, Nevada's governor has reduced indoor dining capacity from 50 percent to 25 percent in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In another huge blow to restaurateurs, Los Angeles County will suspend outdoor dining at restaurants amid a surge of COVID-19 cases as of 10 p.m., Wednesday, November 25, adding to the long list of counties, cities and states imposing new restrictions on restaurants.

The rule will remain in place for at least three weeks, according to The Los Angeles Times. Carryout, delivery and other off-premise service can continue.

Related: Chicago-area restaurants challenge governor’s indoor dining ban

“The persistent high number of [COVID-19] cases requires additional safety measures that limit mixing in settings where people are not wearing masks,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said in a statement.

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County have increased by 92 percent over the previous month, rising to 1,473 on Saturday. On Sunday, the five-day average of cases surpassed 4,000, a benchmark that county officials warned could lead to new restrictions. The county has seen 7,438 deaths from the coronavirus and 364,583 cases since the pandemic began.

The LA Times notes that many restaurateurs and bar owners had recently invested in patio furniture, heaters and awnings for outdoor dining. “They told us we could operate with outdoor dining, we did it safely, we made the investment, and then they take it away from us,” said Christy Vega Fowler, who had spent $30,000 on tents for outdoor dining behind Casa Vega, her family’s Mexican restaurant in Sherman Oaks. “It’s devastating.”

Related: Outdoor dining has been made permanent in New York City

Also this week, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, who has been in quarantine as he recovers from COVID-19, imposed new restrictions on dining capacity in restaurants as infections rose statewide at a rate of 1,854 new cases per day over the seven-day period before November 20.

Sisolak, whose state depends heavily on tourism, said there is “no perfect solution” to preventing the spread of the virus. He ordered all restaurants and bars, including those inside casinos, to reduce dine-in capacity from 50 percent for 25 for at least the next three weeks, according to Eater.com. Additionally, restaurants and bars can only serve guests who have made a reservation, with no walk-in business allowed.

Like most states with restrictions on indoor dining, Nevada continues to allow delivery, carryout and curbside pickup.

Nevada shut down its restaurants and bars for indoor dining in March as the pandemic worsened. They were allowed to reopen for dine-in service at reduced capacity in May.

“We are on a rapid trajectory that threatens to overwhelm our healthcare system, our front line workers and your access to care,” Sisolak said, according to the Associated Press (AP).