Reopening LA County: Outdoor dining again allowed at restaurants, but without screens for TV broadcasts

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- After a two-month shutdown due to surging COVID-19 cases, outdoor dining again was allowed in Los Angeles County on Friday but with a new restriction forcing restaurants to turn off or remove from customer seating areas all televisions used for broadcast programming.

The county's revised Health Officer Order also reinstates previous restrictions on patio dining, requiring servers to wear masks and face shields, limiting restaurants to 50% of outdoor capacity and requiring tables to be at least 8 feet apart.

"Televisions or any other screens that are used to broadcast programming must be removed from the area or turned off," the order also stipulates. "This provision is effective until further notice.''

Earlier this week, County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer noted concerns about the upcoming Super Bowl leading to gatherings of sports fans on Feb. 7. Ferrer recalled earlier issues with people gathering at private parties and restaurants to watch the Dodgers in the World Series and the Lakers in the NBA Finals last October.

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"We know that Super Bowl Sunday is coming up, and we can't repeat the mistakes of the past,'' Ferrer said. "It will be tragic if the Super Bowl becomes a super-spreader of coronavirus.''

The updated order limits table seating to six people, and "all people seated at a table should be members of the same household.'' It encourages, but does not require, seating to be done by advance reservation.

When possible, restaurants should instruct customers to call in advance to confirm outdoor seating and serving capacity, the Public Health Department said.

Restaurants are also urged to collect contact information from customers, "if practicable," in case there is a future need to reach out amid contact-tracing efforts, the agency said.
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