A Los Angeles County Supervisor plans to ignore the country’s new coronavirus lockdown orders requiring bars and restaurants in Los Angeles to ban all dine-in services for three weeks.
As reported by LAist, the ban is to take effect at 10 PM on Wednesday, November 25, becoming the “most stringent restrictions imposed on local dining and drinking establishments since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.”
L.A County Supervisor Kathryn Barger stated that the measure will unfairly punish those who have already made their businesses “COVID-friendly” according to measures imposed by Governor Gavin Newsom.
“For me, it’s about a lack of consistency,” Barger said in an interview with KPCC. “Our own public health director has said that more than 50% of the positives being reported are the result of private social gatherings with someone who tested positive.”
Barger blamed “illegal house parties” and large social gatherings for the surge in coronavirus numbers across the state, not legally-run restaurants that were already adhering to social distancing guidelines. She stated that 50% of the positives being reported were the result of such illegal gatherings.
“That’s where I’m focusing and that’s who I’m holding accountable. I’m not going to sit back and say that the restaurant industry should have to shoulder the financial burden for something that is, from a health standpoint, causing this virus to spread,” Barger said.
Business owners speaking to KPCC told the station that their businesses, already heavily impacted by existing social distancing guidelines, would be devastated.
“It’s debilitating to us. Our hours will be reduced. We will offer only takeout, which will take us from doing about 65% of our usual pre-COVID sales back to 30%. It’s awful, anyway you look at it,” said co-owner of The Tallyrand in Burbank, Karen Ross. “I am just completely exasperated by it because I really don’t believe, as do many other restaurant owners that I’ve talked to, that outdoor dining… we’re the source of that. It’s debilitating. I’ve got a crew of probably 24 people that I’ve got to let go or they’d have to take a furlough… I hope it’s only three weeks.”
L.A. County Department of Public Health officials said that they could not verify how many people were infected at restaurants, arguing only that such venues presumably carried more risks than others.
“Most people don’t know where they got infected… Everywhere people interact is a risk, indoor is worse than outdoor, without a mask is worse than with. Our data presents evidence that gatherings are increasing, and gatherings are one of the drivers for the increases in cases in L.A. County,” a spokesperson for the director of the department’s office stated.