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What to Know About All of LA County’s Newly Relaxed On-Site Dining Rules

Plus, check out Spago’s beautiful new outdoor dining build

The outdoor dining area of Barra de Pan in Corona, California, operated by Lucy Silva in her backyard with wood shelving and tables with patrons.
Diners eating outdoors at a home restaurant in Riverside
Clay Larsen
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.

It’s shaping up to be a massive weekend for restaurants across Los Angeles County, thanks to incoming state guidelines that will place the region (along with Orange County and San Bernardino County, at least) into the state’s red tier, one level down on the four-level tiered restriction system set forth by public health officials last year. With the move from the purple to red tier, things like limited-capacity indoor dining can return, albeit with modifications from the last round of indoor dining in the summer. Here’s what to know, right now:

State approval for automatic red tier status is expected to come at any point today. Restaurants in Long Beach and Pasadena are likely to begin seating diners indoors this weekend. Per state guidance, that means a limit of 25 percent capacity indoors, with the usual protocols in place, and a max of 100 diners indoors in total. Those LA County cities have their own public health departments separate from the rest of LA County, and say that they will follow state guidance on reopening for indoor dining. It’s worth noting, cautiously, that those cities have not formally announced a specific time for indoor dining, but given the state’s upcoming announcement, it’s reasonable to expect that to happen this weekend.

Similarly, Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health is likely to hold off for a couple of days on announcing a formal reopening, meaning restaurants may not be able to seat diners inside until Monday or so. The LA DPH’s guidance says 25 percent indoor capacity, and tables at least eight feet apart (as they currently are outdoors). Diners (no more than six per table) at indoor tables must all be from the same household; outdoor tables can include those from other households.

The state now says that breweries, distilleries, and wineries in the purple and red tier will be able to operate outdoors without needing to serve food as well, starting tomorrow. Imbibers must make reservations, can only stay for 90 minutes, and drinking must stop by 8 p.m. Bars that do not serve food must remain closed in the purple and red tiers. LA County DPH has not confirmed that they will follow this guidance, and local public health officials can always choose to be more restrictive than state guidance (but not less restrictive).

In other news:

  • Father’s Office returns for on-site dining in Culver City this weekend, beginning with dinner hours from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Grand Central Market has partnered with Jarritos on a new limited-time dining activation. The plan is to offer unique Jarritos-infused dishes from some vendors at the market like Berlin Currywurst and Horse Thief, all sold from a stand at the Golden Road stall inside. $1 from each dish will go to Restaurants Care to provide direct relief to restaurant workers; the activation ends on March 14.
  • Tartine is coming to Pasadena, with plans to open a small bakery/coffee shop/takeaway at 277 W, Green Street, says FoodGPS.
  • Here’s a first look at the outdoor dining setup at Spago. As the LA Times noted back in February, the space has been entirely redone as a semi-enclosed, well-ventilated space complete with a bar area, distanced tables, and more. The first night of service was earlier this week.
An outdoor dining setup, massive, with open ceilings and diners inside at night.
The new outdoor Spago
Eric Denq of Spago