After weeks of being limited to takeout and delivery, struggling restaurants in Los Angeles were allowed to reopen for outdoor dining Friday with new restrictions in place.
Restaurants must require employees to wear a face mask and shield, tables must be eight feet apart and seat no more than six people, and televisions are not allowed to be turned on.
“Televisions or any other screens that are used to broadcast programming must be removed from the area or turned off,” the order from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health says. “This provision is effective until further notice.”
This no-TVs edict is likely in place to prevent people from gathering at restaurants to watch the Super Bowl next week.
“We really do need to be cautious as we move forward, given we have a major sporting event. We’ve seen lots of people together shouting, yelling, screaming during the excitement of a game,” Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said this week about the Super Bowl, according to the Los Feliz Register. “This should be a virtual get-together, just like many of you celebrated the holidays with just your immediate family present.”
Restaurants in Los Angeles haven’t been open for outdoor dining since late November when the county’s department of health limited restaurants to takeout and delivery.
The reopening comes as Los Angeles starts to recover from the worst COVID-19 wave since the pandemic first hit. 5,669 Los Angeles residents were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday, which is down from the peak of 8,098 people hospitalized on Jan. 5. Los Angeles County has recorded 1,097,941 confirmed cases and 16,107 deaths since the pandemic began.
Restaurants will welcome the reopening despite the rules, as the hospitality industry nationwide has been hammered by coronavirus.
Restaurants sales fell by $240 billion in 2020, workers saw 2.5 million jobs lost, and 110,000 eating and drinking places are closed either permanently or temporarily, according to a National Restaurant Association report released this week.