L.A. County To Shut Down In-Person Restaurant Dining Ahead Of Thanksgiving

Los Angeles County Public Health officials said Sunday afternoon that restaurants will be forced to stop all in-person dining services due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus.

The policy will go into effect the day before Thanksgiving, and last for at least three weeks. It also prohibits in-person visits to breweries, wineries, and bars in the county.

“As we modify our Thanksgiving holiday celebrations, we are reminded of the many families who will miss their loved ones who have passed away from COVID-19. We send wishes for healing and peace,” said Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer in a statement Sunday. “The persistent high number of cases requires additional safety measures that limit mixing in settings where people are not wearing masks.”

Under the new public health restrictions, businesses will now be forced to rely on take-out, delivery, and drive-thru service in order to have a chance at continued business. “We hope individuals continue to support restaurants, breweries and wineries by ordering for take-out or delivery,” said Ferrer.

The latest county restrictions come less than a week after California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) unveiled a stay-at-home order that prohibits “non-essential work” and “gatherings” in most of the state’s counties from 10pm to 5am for a month.

The Democratic governor called the curfew a response to the rise in coronavirus cases across the state, and said it would apply to “purple-tier” counties the designation used for counties with “widespread” coronavirus risk level. Nearly 95% of California’s approximately 40 million residents live in a purple-tier county.

“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic, and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm,” said Newsom earlier this week. “It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again.”

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly has warned the state “may need to take more stringent actions if we are unable to flatten the curve quickly. Taking these hard, temporary actions now could help prevent future shutdowns.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the five-day average number of new coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County reached 4,097 on Sunday, exceeding the 5-day average threshold the Department of Public Health noted would result in new public health restrictions.

The department warned Sunday that more restrictions could follow should the five-day average climb: “If the five-day average of cases is 4,500 or more or hospitalizations are more than 2,000 per day, a Targeted Safer at Home Order will be issued for three weeks. The Order would offer additional restrictions while allowing essential and emergency workers and those securing essential services to leave their homes.”

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