The Delta variant of the coronavirus — considered to be twice as transmissible as the original that knocked out the world for 15-plus months beginning in March 2020 — is now rapidly spreading across California, leading to new small surges in cases and hospitalizations in several counties, including Los Angeles. And while those hospitalizations, total cases, and deaths have been almost exclusively restricted to unvaccinated people (and are much lower than the previous winter and summer surges) that still amounts to millions of Californians and Angelenos, including many who cannot receive the vaccine for health reasons and children.
Currently, only around 55 percent of Angelenos have received one dose of a vaccine. As a result, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health re-instituted an indoor mask requirement over the weekend; the city of Pasadena, which has its own public health department, is set to follow this week. But could more restrictions on businesses and gatherings still be in the works?
The Los Angeles Times reports that Governor Gavin Newsom is mulling a new statewide mask mandate that would supersede any local guidance, though questions about who will enforce any new mandates and protocols remain. LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has already said that he will not enforce the county’s new mask mandate. Meanwhile, per the San Jose-based Mercury News, if the state was still using its former color-coded tiered system for reopening, LA County’s current case and infection rates would qualify it — along with a dozen other counties — for the most restrictive purple tier. Though public health officials “retired” that system on June 15, the purple tier previously meant that restaurants would only be able to offer outdoor dining, while bars that did not serve food would be closed entirely. There is no formal indication yet of a return to that tiered, color-coded system, or of new restrictions overall, but L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis did say last week that “anything is on the table if things continue to get worse.”
In other news:
- A new fermentation-forward and collaborative pop-up called Natty Cultures is coming to Kensho in Hollywood tonight. Expect bites from the Bad Jew, Lupa Cotta, and more.
- Paradise Dynasty, the colorful soup dumpling specialist from Singapore, is set to open August 16 at South Coast Plaza.
- Koreatown’s Hanchic gets a mini profile this week on the Resy blog, with nods to the restaurant’s mixed modern-traditional Korean food menu. Meanwhile, Seoul Sausage has a new pop-up window to know about near Echo Park and Westlake.
- Longtime LA wine buff Matthew Kaner is launching a podcast called History of Wine on July 20.
- Los Angeles Magazine is out with its annual best list, with nods to spots like Needle in Silver Lake, cocktail bar Death & Co., and more.
- A Pacific Islander food festival is coming to the South Bay on August 28, as part of the South Bay Food Market. Expect names like Fiyahnesian to be in attendance.
- Arts District bar Here & Now, known for its over-the-top holiday hangouts, is doing a Christmas in July celebration now through August 1. Expect lots of faux snow, cocktails, and more.