- Outdoor dining can once again be provided in Los Angeles County on patios, along sidewalks and in parking lots by the end of this week.
- San Francisco restaurants can serve food outdoors as long as no more than six people from two households are seated at the table and tables are spaced at least six feet apart.
Outdoor dining will soon be back in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and restaurateurs are scrambling to reopen in hope of better days to come in 2021.
Los Angeles County officials announced on Monday that outdoor dining can be provided on patios, along sidewalks and in parking lots by the end of this week. These dining spaces will be restricted to 50 percent capacity, and the ban on indoor dining remains in place.
California Governor Gavin Newsom also lifted a statewide stay-at-home order on Monday, permitting a return to a county-by-county approach to monitoring the COVID-19 situation. Los Angeles County has one of the highest rates of coronavirus infection in the country. County officials shut down outdoor dining in late November, citing concerns that hospitals could become overwhelmed by the surge in serious virus cases.
Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County’s public health director, warned that residents should not “take this news to mean you can return to normalcy,” the Los Angeles Daily News reports. “The situation can change overnight. As we’ve seen before, more restrictions could be needed if non-compliance leads to more transmissions and hospitalizations.”
“If at any point it looks like we are starting to overwhelm our hospitals again and we are not making progress at slowing the spread, I will be the first person to say we have to do this differently,” Ferrer added. “I’m OK with this if everyone plays by the rules.”
Meanwhile, restaurant operators in San Francisco can reopen for outdoor dining on Thursday, January 28, with some restrictions. Only six people from no more than two households can be seated at a table. The tables must be separated at a distance of six feet or more, and barriers are no longer allowed as an alternative to the spacing between tables, according to SFGate.
“I’m excited we’re able to do this, and I know that it will provide some relief to small businesses and workers that have been really struggling for months now,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a social media post.