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Governor Newsom’s Latest Announcement Hints LA Dining Rooms Won’t Be Reopening Anytime Soon

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More guidelines for restaurants will be detailed next week

A yellow awning with discount signs at a ramen shop during coronavirus.
Daikokuya in Little Tokyo
Wonho Frank Lee
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

Earlier this week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined a four-stage plan to gradually reopen California from his stay-at-home order. Starting Friday, clothing retailers, bookstores, music stores, florists, sporting goods retailers, and others will reopen for curbside pick-up.

Today, he partially detailed the next phase of guidelines, though restaurant-specific details were notably absent from the announcement. Those guidelines will be laid out on Tuesday, according to Newsom, who also hinted that some restaurant dining rooms in California could potentially reopen as soon as next week.

In order to comply with the reopening, cities must work collaboratively with the state, county supervisors, and health officials, and prove the following:

  • No one in the region has died of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • The area has fewer than one case of COVID-19 per 10,000 residents
  • Adequate testing and hospital capacity
  • The ability to isolate people infected with the virus
  • The ability to trace who patients have been in contact with

Los Angeles County reported 83 coronavirus deaths on May 6, while Orange County reported one death today.

Even though dining rooms in Southern California are unlikely to be allowed to reopen soon, a handful of restaurants, like Nomads Canteen in Orange County, have violated two-month-old orders to provide in-house dining. Likely referring to those establishments, Newsom added that those who continue to flout the rules would face enforcement “in a judicious way.” Nomads Canteen intends to be open throughout the weekend.

Since March 19, all California dining rooms were forced to close. Some restaurants temporarily closed, others pivoted to a takeout and delivery-only model, and many have shuttered permanently. Those still hanging on still await state guidance as they develop a reopening plan.