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LA County Finds That Nearly 100 Percent of Inspected Restaurants Now Follow COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

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After previously dismal reports, LA County inspectors found positive results

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.

In mid-June, Los Angeles County public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer reported that half of LA’s bars and restaurants were not safely following health guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, the county’s inspection team visited 1,101 restaurants and found improved results from the previous month, where restaurants and bars are taking the extra steps to follow county guidelines.

In a county briefing yesterday, Dr. Ferrer shared inspections data from July 3 through July 5. LA County’s findings revealed the following:

  • 99 percent of restaurants followed the county order to provide outdoor dining, takeout, or delivery.
  • 99 percent of restaurants complied with the physical distancing requirements
  • 99 percent of customers wore face coverings
  • 82 percent of employees wore face coverings/shields
  • 82 percent of bars visited were closed, as were the eight breweries and wineries visited
  • Inspectors also visited 74 hotels where 97 percent complied with face coverings.
A restaurant compliance report from Los Angeles County
Restaurant compliance report from Los Angeles County
LA County Department of Public Health

When restaurants were permitted to reopen dining rooms in late May, Dr. Ferrer trusted businesses to follow the county mandated protocols for customer and employee safety without county oversight. Those guidelines included wearing face masks, shields, social distancing in the kitchen, and dining room tables. After the failed mid-June inspections, Dr. Ferrer’s office announced her office would crack down on offenders.

On June 29, Dr. Ferrer noted that restaurants were still “struggling to be in compliance” as COVID infection numbers continued to rise throughout the state. Bars and wineries are no longer allowed to remain open. As of today, there are 123,000 cases within Los Angeles County.

Dr. Ferrer is encouraged by the July Fourth numbers. “I am so grateful for all the cooperation we’re seeing from both businesses and residents alike,” says Dr. Ferrer. “Because it’s encouraging to note that this is a county that when people put their mind to it, they actually make sure that something good happens. So my message to all who who call LA County our home today, is a plea to keep up the good work that our inspectors saw out there over the holiday weekend.”