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Despite New CDC Guidelines, LA Asks People to Keep Wearing Masks

Plus, LA Times names its restaurant of the year, a new sign for Afuri Ramen, and a new Mr Fries Man in LBC

A worker in a suit with a plastic shield and face mask grabs plates of Italian food.
Server picks up food at Beverly Hills restaurant wearing mask and face shield
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.

Last Thursday, the US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated Americans can stop wearing masks and no longer worry about social distancing. In Los Angeles, county officials are still reviewing whether to ditch face coverings. But for now, masks are still required if entering any LA County business or a crowded indoor area.

The California Department of Public Health and LA County officials are reviewing the federal guidelines, but have not issued any changes since the CDC’s announcement. It’s a technical issue really, as California counties cannot make changes until the state does so first.

Adjusting the mask mandate requires a change from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Last week, LA County public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer stated the county cannot act further until the state agency changes the mask requirements. KTLA-5 reports CAL/OSHA’s board will vote on new workplace safety standards on May 20. If approved, businesses where all employees are fully vaccinated would be exempt from physical distancing requirements starting July 31.

On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom stated that he’s reviewing mask-wearing guidelines. While LA County supervisor Kathryn Barger sent a letter to Newsom where she supports eliminating masks for vaccinated people.

In other news:

  • Signage for the Tokyo-based ramen and dumpling restaurant Afuri Ramen is up in the Arts District.
  • What Now Los Angeles reports that Coffee Coffee will open a third location in the former Caffe Vita space right next to the Vista Movie theater. There’s no opening date announced yet.
  • Local non-profit RE:Her launched a grant program for women-owned restaurants in LA County. They start taking applications today and will award $10,000 cash grants. Information for the grants is here.
  • The LA Times headed to the Mayfield in San Juan Capistrano to try cauliflower shawarma.
  • Long Beach’s longstanding L’Opera restaurant — which functions inside a former Bank of America branch — reopens on May 24, writes the Long Beach Post.
  • A new LAX delivery service makes it possible to have food delivered to travelers waiting for flights in other terminals, reports Moodie Davitt Report. That service takes place in the Tom Bradley International Terminal and the nearly-completed Tom Bradley West gates with food from Vino Volo, Border Grill, Panda Express, KFC and ink.sack.
  • Smothered fries specialist Mr Fries Man opens its Long Beach location on May 23, marking owner Craig Batiste’s tenth location in Southern California.