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Los Angeles Likely to Announce Restaurant Reopenings in Friday Press Conferences

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Dining rooms could partially reopen as soon as this weekend, sources tell Eater LA

Coronavirus in Southern California
Two men wearing masks due to the Coronavirus sit outside of Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant in Montrose on Wednesday, May 13
Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

Los Angeles restaurants won’t have to wait much longer to find out when they can reopen dining rooms: The county will likely announce tomorrow afternoon that restaurants can partially resume dine-in service as soon as this weekend, Eater LA has learned.

Representatives for the County of Los Angeles will hold a press conference at 1 p.m., with the city expecting to follow shortly afterward. On Friday, May 29, at 2:30 p.m., seven restaurants in the downtown San Pedro area will demonstrate LA’s outdoor dining plan, dubbed “Summer in the Streets,” once the reopening date is officially set by the county’s department of public health. The event in San Pedro is meant to show an immediate implementation of outdoor dining for restaurants on sidewalks and on the street. The press conference will likely expand on relevant guidelines for safely reopening dining rooms.

The City of Los Angeles has something in the works as well. According to a city spokesperson, “the city is working on an outdoor dining program that will launch once dining is allowed.”

Over the last two weeks, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has allowed most California counties to relax their social distancing guidelines and reopen dining rooms, including nearby Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Orange counties. Los Angeles County supervisors submitted a request for reopening on May 27; reopening is subject to approval from the governor’s office. (Earlier today, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that San Francisco restaurants will be allowed to reopen for outdoor dining on June 15, with a potential for indoor dining on July 13.)

Local governments have been preparing guidelines for the resumption of dine-in service at restaurants for weeks, with the City of Los Angeles recently releasing a 17-page document that lays out in detail how restaurants should train staff, sanitize facilities, and establish physical distancing throughout the space.

After nearly three months of suspended in-house dining at LA restaurants, food operators have resorted to takeout and pickup dining. The state’s stay-at-home order included the immediate closure of dining rooms across the state on March 15. The impact is deeply felt within the restaurant community, where two out of three restaurant employees have lost their jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic began, while prominent restaurants have closed for good.