LA County to shut down all dining Wednesday amid COVID-19 surge

Los Angeles County is restricting dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars for at least three weeks starting Wednesday amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County is shutting down all dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars for at least three weeks starting Wednesday amid a surge in coronavirus cases, health officials announced Sunday.

The establishments will only be able to offer takeout, drive-thru and delivery services, and the restrictions will take effect Wednesday at 10 p.m.

"To reduce the possibility for crowding and the potential for exposures in settings where people are not wearing their face coverings, restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars will only be able to offer take-out, drive thru, and delivery services," the county's Department of Public Health said in a news release. "Wineries and breweries may continue their retail operations adhering to current protocols. In person dining will not be allowed, at minimum, for the next 3 weeks."

RELATED: Gov. Newsom orders curfew for most California counties

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Gov. Gavin Newsom is ordering a curfew for all California counties in the purple tier starting Saturday. The stay-at-home order-like restrictions will be in effect 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for 41 California counties.

Officials had warned of more restrictions earlier in the week if the county's five-day average of new cases was above 4,000. Sunday's five-day average was 4,097 cases.

If the five-day average of cases grows to 4,500 or more or hospitalizations are more than 2,000 per day, a "Safer at Home Order" will be issued for three weeks, according to health officials. That order would amount to a stay-at-home order like the one issued at the start of the pandemic eight months ago, allowing only essential and emergency workers and those securing essential services to leave their homes.

Outdoor dining has helped restaurants stay in business during the pandemic, and cities have tried to help by shutting down traffic so businesses would be able to set up tables outside.

Now businesses that have been losing money for months and struggling to keep their doors open may not survive.

"It's really just devastating. Our industry has been so deeply affected by the pandemic," said Karen Ross, owner of the Tallyrand restaurant in Burbank. "Our crew as well as the hundreds of thousands of people who are in the restaurant industry are just reeling from the news that we're going to be shutdown again."

Restaurant owners who have been struggling to stay afloat say they've invested a lot of money in outdoor dining, and this latest restriction is just another blow.

"It's just been devastating, now we gotta close the outside, " said Joey Kouchkian, owner of Cafe of Lemon in Monrovia. "We're gonna have to tell 11 of our employees to go home, and how are they gonna pay their bills?"

Some diners were also concerned about the closures.

"They've followed all the protocols, puts up the safety guards, people are wearing masks -- of course none of us wanna get COVID, but I feel like these businesses are gonna go outta business. They can't keep sustaining this," said Sharon Bateson.

A curfew for businesses in the county had been in effect since Friday night. Restaurants, breweries, wineries as well as other non-essential establishments were ordered to close between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Most of California, including Los Angeles County, has been under a curfew since Saturday night at 10 p.m.

Pasadena and Long Beach have their own health departments and are considering what actions, if any, will be taken regarding restaurants. However, officials say those cities usually act in line with the county.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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