“Los Angeles County will essentially align with the state,” said L.A. County Board Chair Hilda Solis on Monday afternoon in announcing changes to Covid-related restriction. Solis said the new openings “will include outdoor dining.” She said the changes would happen by the end of the week.
The county’s ban on outdoor dining technically expired on Dec. 16, but patio dining remained prohibited under the state’s Regional Stay-at-Home Order, which is now lifted.
Solis went on to warn the the restrictions could be re-instituted if virus variants began to impact the region negatively or if residents’ behavior caused new increases.
“The Super Bowl is coming up and we’ve seen what happens when people gather for a sporting event in each others’ homes,” she said.
Los Angeles Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer reported on Monday a very low number of 45 deaths related to the virus. She indicated that that number was “very low because of a lag in reporting form the weekend.” Over the weekend, the county’s number of deaths since the pandemic began crossed 15,000.
Ferrer indicated that the 14-day test positivity number had fallen to 12.9% on January 20, that’s down from 20% at start go year.
On Monday, the number of daily new cases in the county was down to 6,642 cases.
In the past few days, the daily number of those hospitalized with the virus fell below 7,000 for the first time in weeks after hitting a peak of 8,000+ on January 8.
The L.A. County health officer order that was issued on November 25th is still in effect until a new health order is issued on Friday, said Ferrer. The Friday order will allow restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining with protections for workers.
“The biggest difference between that order and where we’re headed this Friday is outdoor dining,” said Ferrer.
Other newly permitted activities under the November 25 order include gatherings of up to three families to a limit of 15 people. Hotels may reopen for tourism. Fitness facilities may reopen for outdoor training. Personal care services may reopen at 25% indoor capacity. Museums, zoos and aquariums may reopen for indoor operations.
Attorney Mark Geragos, who sued the county on behalf of his own downtown restaurant and another eatery in Sherman Oaks, wrote on Twitter Monday morning, “There is no prohibition against outdoor dining” in the county now that the state’s order has been lifted.
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who argued against a dining ban, issued a statement saying, “I support following the governor’s recommended guidelines for Southern California, and reopening outdoor dining, personal care services and other industries that were previously closed by these orders. A data-driven and pragmatic policy approach is essential to protecting public health, while balancing the devastating social, emotional and economic impacts of this virus.”
I support following the Governor’s recommendation for L.A. County to reopen outdoor dining, personal services & other industries. Data-driven & pragmatic policy is essential to protect public health while balancing social, emotional & economic impacts. https://t.co/fZv2FFfpow
— Supervisor Kathryn Barger (@kathrynbarger) January 25, 2021
Supervisor Janice Hahn also said she hopes restaurants are allowed to resume outdoor service in the county.
“We should align ourselves with the state as much as possible, which means, among other things, reopening outdoor dining with commonsense health protocols in place as soon as possible,” Hahn said. “The restaurant industry was devastated by this lengthy shutdown and I know this would be welcome news to them.”
Now that Gov Newsom has lifted the stay-at-home order, the question is what is L.A. County going to do?
We should align ourselves with the state as much as possible which means, among other things, reopening outdoor dining with commonsense health protocols in place.
— Janice Hahn (@SupJaniceHahn) January 25, 2021
As of Monday morning, the county’s website still indicated that all personal-care businesses such as hair salons, nail salons, massage businesses and barbershops remain closed. County health officials were set to hold a press conference at 2 p.m.
Bars remain closed in all counties in the “purple” tier of the state’s four-level economic reopening matrix. The vast majority of counties in the state, including all of Southern California, are in the “purple” tier.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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