The rules for restaurants in Los Angeles are simple: Workers must be masked, tables must be 6 feet apart, and all dining must take place outdoors. But according to the Public Health Department, 83 percent of restaurants and bars in Los Angeles County aren’t following the COVID-19 precautions.
“There should be no places where tables are right next to each other,” says Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer during a news conference.
The restaurants are also required to complete a checklist of protocols, which include limiting occupancy to 60 percent, reminding customers to wear masks when they’re not eating or drinking, and closing bar counters. An honor system was applied to the restaurants that opened, so they did so without an initial inspection.
The overwhelmed and exasperated public health department visited more than 2,000 restaurants, and will revisit those that violated the orders. There’s been a rise in COVID-19 cases in California, with about half of the infections being reported in Los Angeles County.
Still, officials realize the difficulties restaurants are facing at the moment, and they’re trying to figure out options to be safe yet supportive.
“Expanding outdoor dining is a creative way to foster safe reopening of our restaurants,” says Kathryn Barger, chairwoman of the LA County Board of Supervisors, explaining that the board is looking into allowing restaurants to expand their outdoor dining spaces. “We will continue to collaborate and find creative solutions to support the needs of restaurants large and small on their path toward recovery.”
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