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Cities Within LA County Make Quick Changes to Dining Rules as June 15 Reopening Looms

Plus, a wing residency at Animal, a winemaker lawsuit, and Otoño reopens in Highland Park

Gigi’s Outdoor dining at Gigi’s Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
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.

Santa Monica, Long Beach, and Los Angeles officials have been busy this week making rapid changes surrounding restaurants as the state approaches the June 15 reopening deadline. They’re in a mad dash to either eliminate or extend COVID-19 rules that have been in place since last year.

Let’s start with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which took a step towards making outdoor dining permanent yesterday. Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn co-authored a motion to bolster two state bills. Assembly Bill 61 is designed to permit cities to expand outdoor dining, while temporary liquor licenses would turn permanent under Senate Bill 314, reports CBS-2. LA’s City Council is equally enthusiastic about outdoor dining, and passed its own al fresco measure three weeks ago.

In Santa Monica, the city council extended its COVID-19 era rules allowing the use of parklets, streets, sidewalks, and public spaces for outdoor dining, including Third Street Promenade, for a year. They also waived restaurant fees for the rest of the year as well. And in Long Beach, city officials are debating with restaurant owners on the reopening of Pine Avenue, reports CBS-2.

In other news:

  • In a late Wednesday meeting, Cal/OSHA withdrew its original mask requirement at California workplaces, reports Fox-11. It’s a complete reversal from last week, but with announcements today by state and LA County officials, there will be more to this rule that will impact restaurant workers, so stay tuned.
  • Two Wings Chicken from chef John Clark has a month-long residency at Animal on weekends in June. Delivery and pick-up are available.
  • A group of winemakers filed a lawsuit against LA County and the Board of Supervisors, opposing the county’s recent ban on new vineyards. LAist has the full story.
  • The Los Angeles Times looked at Pasadena’s only remaining queer bar and the effort to save it, while including a guide on where to celebrate Pride throughout LA.
  • The Long Beach City Council approved three new restaurants for the Mother’s Beach, Bayshore Beach, and Junipero Beach concession stands. The new spots are Louisiana Charlie’s, Grill ‘em All, and Saltwater Deck, says the Long Beach Post.
  • Teresa Montaño reopened her Highland Park restaurant Otoño this week. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m.