Judge refuses to disable the LA County COVID eating ban

A Los Angeles Supreme Court judge on Tuesday morning rejected the entry into force of a ban on outdoor dining in Los Angeles County, rejecting an 11-hour request from the state’s leading restaurant group.

Outdoor dining options in LA County will shut down Wednesday night amid the ongoing boom in new cases of the coronavirus, California’s Restaurant Assn. filed a lawsuit against the ban on county health officials and, as a first step, sought an emergency order from the judge, which stopped the new rules from taking effect.

The association’s lawyers have asked the judge to issue an order to stop the closure unless health officials can provide scientific evidence for a decision to impose a ban on eating.

According to the association, restaurants can operate as safely as other industries during a pandemic, and the ban on food industry workers and owners will be huge.

Due to the surge in cases of the coronavirus, county health officials announced Sunday that they will temporarily suspend outdoor meals in restaurants, striking a blow to Los Angeles ’already struggling restaurant and catering industry.

Under the new rules, which take effect Wednesday night, all restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars in the county will be prohibited from serving customers in an outdoor setting for at least three weeks. Indoor service has been prohibited since spring.

When announcing the restrictions, health officials said there was a need to reduce the places where large groups can gather and spread the virus.

But the association stressed that the ban could cause devastating falls for the restaurant industry.

“There are thousands of restaurants and thousands more employees who may be out on the streets before the holiday season,” said Jot Condie, of California Restaurant Assn. In a statement by its President and CEO.

Officials warned last week that the rule will be introduced when the five-day average of new cases reaches 4,000 or when hospital treatment exceeds 1,750 per day.

The five-day average reached 4,097 on Sunday, the Department of Public Health said, and hospital care stood at 1,473 on Saturday, a 92% increase from a month earlier.

“The consistently high number of cases calls for additional safety measures that limit mixing in places where people don’t wear masks,” Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County Director of Public Health, said in a statement.

The City News Service contributed to this report.