After hours of fierce debates, Los Angeles County decided Tuesday to end dining at restaurants for at least three weeks from 10 p.m. Wednesday.
Under the new order, all local restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars in Los Angeles County, the most populous in the United States, will not be permitted to provide dine-in meals, both indoors and outdoors.
Outdoor gatherings at local restaurants had resumed last summer as measures against the pandemic loosened, while indoor dining remained forbidden. The ban is regarded as the most restrictive for the restaurant industry after the county’s first stay-at-home order was issued last spring.
“Our metrics are the most alarming metrics that we’ve ever seen,” said Barbara Ferrer, the county’s Public Health Director. “Inaction in the face of this devastating acceleration of cases will cause irreparable harm.”
Meanwhile, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge declined Tuesday to block the ban on outdoor dining, rejecting an 11th-hour plea by the California Restaurant Association, the state’s leading restaurant group, which filed a lawsuit challenging the ban designed by the county’s health officials.
Moreover, travellers arriving at Los Angeles’ airports and main train station will be required to fill in a form to commit to 14 days of self quarantine.
Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles, the biggest city in the county, suggested avoiding travel over the coming Thanksgiving holiday.
With Thanksgiving two days away, Mark Ghaly, California’s Health and Human Services Secretary also urged people to say “no” to families and friends who want to gather.
Los Angeles County saw a record-high 6.6 percent weekly average rate of testing positivity last week and reported a caseload of 366,374 and a death toll of 7,446 on Tuesday.