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What Do LA’s Sharply Rising COVID-19 Case Numbers Mean For Restaurants?

Plus, a local winner for Food Network’s food truck TV show, and no historic status for West LA’s chili bowl building

Vaccinations underway in Los Angeles
Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
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.

Los Angeles County’s coronavirus case numbers are once again rising, just weeks after the broad statewide reopening on June 15. And while almost all of the new county cases are coming from unvaccinated adults and children below the current acceptable vaccination age, there is still rising concern that growing case numbers and hospitalizations could jeopardize the region’s continued reopening — or at least put a kink in the way things are currently done.

Per KNX1070 reporter Claudia Peschiutta, the county’s numbers from July 12 represent the fourth day in a row that total cases have surpassed 1,000 per day; hospitalizations are also running up to 400 per day, numbers not seen in months. “Over 99 percent of the COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths we are seeing are among unvaccinated individuals,” said county public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer on Monday, but given the county’s size that still equates to millions of people. Health officials believe that vaccinated individuals can still contract the new, more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, but effects are said to be mild.

So what does this mean for the continued reopening of businesses like restaurants? It’s hard to say, since LA County may just be at the beginning of a new semi-surge in total cases — but don’t be surprised if some businesses, event venues, and public spaces move to mandate vaccinations for all those who enter. That might mean limited access (or no access at all) to places like Dodger Stadium or Grand Central Market, and a continued focus on takeout and delivery for some restaurants around the city — or a requirement for diners to show a vaccine card before sitting down to a table.

In other news:

  • Looking for firm details on the person behind Secret Pizza, the anonymous underground home pop-up? Good luck says LA Magazine, though the owner is willing to share a few secrets about cooking great East Coast-style pies at home.
  • Daniel Shemtob of Hatch Yakitori and the Lime Truck has won Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race All-Stars, reports LA Weekly.
  • Breakfast sandwich specialist Calabama is headed back to her old stomping grounds (pre-bucket, that is), dropping in for a cook at the Friend Bar at 2611 Hyperion Avenue on Sunday, July 18. Food starts at 1 p.m.
  • Longtime farmers market purveyors Domenico’s is going legit in Beverly Hills, says What Now LA. The cottage industry business is opening a storefront for meats, pastas, and cheeses from Italy at 9705 Santa Monica Boulevard.
  • The longstanding former Chili Bowl space in West LA (which was home to Shunji for years) has been denied historic status by city officials, reports Yo Venice, paving the way for redevelopment of the plot.
  • Happy hours are officially back, at least in a few places. Case in point, the new three-hour-long apertivo hour running daily at Severance on Melrose.