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As COVID-19 Surges, LA County Shuts Down All Outdoor Restaurant Dining

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A modification of the county public health order goes into effect on Wednesday night

Outdoor dining patio at Dama in Arts District, Los Angeles
Workers at a restaurant doing outdoor seating
Wonho Frank Lee
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Public health officials have announced that outdoor dining at restaurants across Los Angeles County will shut down on Wednesday, November 25. The modification of the county’s public health order was announced on Sunday, November 22, and takes effect on Wednesday at 10 p.m., after which restaurants will only be able to offer takeout meals or delivery. During this period, there will be no on-site dining of any kind, indoors or out, for at least three weeks.

The news, announced by county health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer, comes as LA County (and indeed, all of California) continues to be battered by the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Cases have tripled in the state in just the last month, with LA County averaging double the number of weekly cases from just two weeks ago. The counts is already under a new, limited stay at home order, with residents under a curfew for all non-essential trips running nightly from 10 p.m. to the following morning. Many businesses must also close during those hours, though restaurants can continue to offer takeout and delivery after 10 p.m. So far, curfews have proven to be less than successful in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The modified public health order can be seen here:

The move to close restaurants entirely for sit-down dining is just the latest blow for an industry that has been heavily battered by the ongoing pandemic. Just last week restaurants were told to diminish outdoor seating to 50 percent of capacity, while indoor dining has been closed in LA County since the summer. Meanwhile, the coronavirus continues to lead to an unspeakable amount of heartache, with the United States leading the world with more than 250,000 deaths so far.

The new modification of the County health order is set to last for three weeks starting November 25, though with cases continuing to rise and the holidays on the horizon — typically a time for family gatherings, even with the pandemic on — it’s possible that restaurants will not return to on-site dining for much longer than that. Eater has reached out to the mayor’s office and to Dr. Ferrer, and will update if anything new comes back.