As of today Los Angeles County restaurants can reopen at will, provided they follow guidelines set by the state of California and the county and city of Los Angeles.
Most of these suggestions and temporary rules fall in line, mirroring each other with across-the-board agreement on six feet of distance between guests; a push toward outdoor seating; wellness checks for employees before shifts begin; and diners waiting outdoors or in their cars while their tables are readied. That said, L.A. County’s new guidance, published today, does differ from the previously outlined dine-in practices in a few notable ways that might make dining out feel all the more surreal in the next few weeks.
L.A. County’s new guidance states that restaurants need to run at 60 percent capacity, specifically for the next 21 days—a timeline not seen in either the state’s initial guidance, nor Garcetti’s dining recommendations. While outdoor tables still need to keep six feet of distance between them, they won’t count toward the restaurant’s 60-percent capacity limit.
Differing drastically from Mayor Garcetti’s best-practices guide, which recommended tables be limited to 10 people, the county’s own rules outlaw any groups above six be seated at the same table.
Additionally, cloth face masks will be required for diners when they are not eating, which was a suggested guideline in California’s list, not a hard rule. (A few counties, including San Diego, have also adopted this as a requirement.) There’s also an addition of face shields, which should be worn by staff whenever they approach diners who have removed masks to eat; employees’ face shields should be worn in addition to their own masks.
And we’ve got terrible news for fans of dinner theater: Under L.A. County’s new guidelines, “Entertainment operations are prohibited.” Here are a few more of L.A. County’s more notable new rules:
- Customers are instructed that they must wear cloth face coverings to be served. This applies to all adults and to children over the age of 2. Only individuals with chronic respiratory conditions or other medical conditions that make the use of a face covering hazardous are exempted from this requirement.
- Restrooms are to be checked regularly and cleaned and disinfected on an hourly basis.
- Self-service items such as condiment caddies, utensil caddies, napkins, lids, straws, to-go containers, etc. must be removed, with items provided by employees.
- Self-service food areas such as salsa bars, salad bars or buffet-style bars, including food sampling, must be removed.
- Refilling beverages at the table or from common containers (e.g. pitchers, carafes, decanters, bottles) is not allowed. Clean glassware must be provided for customer refills.
- Customer seating areas are to be cleaned and sanitized after each use.
- Takeout/leftover containers are to be filled by customers and available only upon request.
Find the full list of L.A. County dine-in guidelines here.
While L.A. County restaurants and hair salons can reopen today—joining a handful of approved operations and areas such as farmers’ markets, beaches and retail—many businesses remain closed, including gyms and fitness centers; beach piers; indoor entertainment venues (arcades, bowling alleys, movie theaters, stadiums, theme parks and the like); indoor museums; and zoos.
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