As COVID-19 Surges, LA County Shuts Down All Outdoor Restaurant Dining

Workers at a restaurant doing outdoor seating

Public health officials have announced that outdoor dining at restaurants across Los Angeles County will shut down on Wednesday, November 25. The modification of the county’s public health order was announced on Sunday, November 22, and takes effect on Wednesday at 10 p.m., after which restaurants will only be able to offer takeout meals or delivery. During this period, there will be no on-site dining of any kind, indoors or out, for at least three weeks.

The news, announced by county health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer, comes as LA County (and indeed, all of California) continues to be battered by the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Cases have tripled in the state in just the last month, with LA County averaging double the number of weekly cases from just two weeks ago. The counts is already under a new, limited stay at home order, with residents under a curfew for all non-essential trips running nightly from 10 p.m. to the following morning. Many businesses must also close during those hours, though restaurants can continue to offer takeout and delivery after 10 p.m. So far, curfews have proven to be less than successful in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The modified public health order can be seen here:

The move to close restaurants entirely for sit-down dining is just the latest blow for an industry that has been heavily battered by the ongoing pandemic. Just last week restaurants were told to diminish outdoor seating to 50 percent of capacity, while indoor dining has been closed in LA County since the summer. Meanwhile, the coronavirus continues to lead to an unspeakable amount of heartache, with the United States leading the world with more than 250,000 deaths so far.

The new modification of the County health order is set to last for three weeks starting November 25, though with cases continuing to rise and the holidays on the horizon — typically a time for family gatherings, even with the pandemic on — it’s possible that restaurants will not return to on-site dining for much longer than that. Eater has reached out to the mayor’s office and to Dr. Ferrer, and will update if anything new comes back.


So restaurants have already been tasked with limiting groups of diners to six guests or fewer, and spacing tables six feet apart. The city and health dept have enforced these restrictions and restaurants have adhered. If limiting the number of guests and spacing people works, why shut down outdoor dining, as it’s already been done? If it doesn’t work, then again, why shut down down outdoor dining?

This is heartbreaking. We’re going to lose a lot of places. This year is just relentless

When will we face the truth?

There goes my Thanksgiving plans. Hello Swanson.

This is absolute bullsh*t. Worthless LA politicians using restaurants as a scapegoat again because they can’t stop people from being idiots, are able to jerk restaurants around without repercussions, and don’t know what else to do. Never mind the fact that no one is relating these surges to outdoor dining and these places (for the most part) have done everything they’re supposed to do. I have never hated these politicians more.

Low hanging fruit = restaurants. Easy to push around, whereas harder to corral people and their behavior without becoming Singapore or another kind of police state. I’m wondering why airports are still open and air travel hasn’t been shut down. I don’t think a moratorium on dining outdoors is going to be helpful. But, what can we do? Nothing.

Agree with other commenters that the restaurant industry is being scapegoated because they’re the easiest to control. I actively loathe and look forward to voting out as many of these morons as possible.

This is ridiculous.

This is so depressingly sad… However, I don’t think politicians are entirely to blame here. Rather, this has, from the very beginning, been an issue with the public. The behavior of the public can really control the pandemic— how else do you think highly densely places like Taiwan controlled their spread? Now that people can no longer enjoy dining on-site, I think it’s the time to reflect on WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. People need to take responsibilities for their own behaviors for once, especially now that Thanksgiving is approaching and we’ve been warned for months about gatherings.

dude here’s a "reflection" for you: there a million house parties going on that our GED-failing LA politicians can’t control that are spreading the virus but these same politicians need to look like they’re taking action so someone needs to take the blame. And who better to target than small businesses, many immigrant owned? They can’t fight back—no one will miss them right?
But you keep feeling sad…

You’re 100% correct but how do you enforce against large gatherings in private homes? LAPD/LA Sheriff will really become Gestapo if it’s going to work. There has to be a better way so people have an incentive to stay away from those gatherings.

when a house party gets too loud or rowdy, cops come to break it up all the time. that’s not gestapo.

Our country overemphasizes individual liberty at the expense of the collective.

Ok, shut down public gatherings, close restaurants, but have the responsible leadership that will support these businesses that have to shut down. If the banks were too big to fail, why not the restaurant industry that supports so much of our economy and poor people?

as much as I love the industry, and depend on a portion of my income from the restaurant industry, it’s hard not to see all those people eating out on sidewalks and think there’s a level of self-entitlement there (and I’m guilty of it too) acting like everything is back to normal. Regardless of transmission rates in restaurants, the mind shift has to be that we’re not ready to get back to normal and have to make sacrifices for this to go away. But that said, it’ll just come back until there’s a cure, so there’s that too . . .

Don’t take the blame off politicians and onto the public. That’s exactly what they want you to do.

Covid has been spreading a lot amongst construction workers – by one estimate, construction is the largest workplace spreader in the county – but ZERO nonessential construction has been shut down since March. Not SoFi Stadium (at least 77 positive Covid cases as of August 13), not all those "luxury" apartments and condos, and certainly none of those expensive SFHs in Beverly Hills. Why not? Because city and county politicians are in the pockets of wealthy developers (both legally, see: campaign donations, and illegally: see ousted L.A. City Councilmen Jose Huizar and Mitch Englander).

In short, city and county pols could have put their foot down at any point this year – March would have been nice – to stop nonessential construction and slow the spread amongst construction workers, many of whom are poor immigrants packed into small apartments with other workers, or in multi-generational homes. But instead they ignore this very real problem and shut down cash-poor restaurants. And of course it’s easy to guilt-trip privileged, narcissistic liberals (I’m one) into thinking that we must be to blame.

Post how many restaurants have closed since March 16,2020.

Always two weeks too late. I hope other counties follow soon. I’m seeing tents out there with four walls. LOL, that’s just inside, people!!

I agree, there are some places that barely qualify as "outside". But the vast majority are complying at no shortage of their own expense, and when reading about the spikes in infections no one seems to be relating it to dining, especially seeing as how outdoor dining has been allowed for months without any corresponding spikes in infection rates. Meanwhile airports are packed. Shutting down outdoor dining is accomplishing absolutely nothing besides putting people out of work.

Why would they shut down outdoor dining? That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!

Stay at home order is coming next. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get there by the end of the week. Certainly once the Thanksgiving cases start hitting next week.

View All Comments
Back to top ↑