The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health acknowledged at Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors that there is no scientific evidence to link the recent wave of COVID-19 to support their move to eliminate outdoor meals.
In order to continue the recently proposed restrictions on the ministry, which came into effect on Wednesday, Dr. Muntu Davis said restaurant-specific contact information around the coronavirus is rare, “as a public health department, we need to look at the highest risks and where we can reduce those risks.” adding that restaurants fall into the high-risk category.
Instead of specific data, the health official cited a CDC study that targeted 11 different outpatient health facilities in 10 states with “best information.” The study found that patients with COVID-19 were twice as likely to eat at a restaurant.
However, FOX 11 Bill Melugin said applying the study to the Los Angeles County situation is flawed because the research makes no distinction between indoor and outdoor catering and was conducted in the United States rather than within that community.
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Kathryn Barger, chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, argued during the meeting that, without solid data, restaurants are specifically the leading cause of COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.
“I feel that what is happening today is really destroying not only the workers but also their families,” Barger added, saying he feels the closures are “arbitrary and punitive”.
Superintendent Janice Hahn noted that she had never seen the kind of community repression the board had heard, and noted that the public “really loses faith and trust in the decisions we make.” He asked why the Department of Public Health was not only targeting restaurants if the rules were not followed, but that all outdoor meals would be banned.
Dr. Barbra Ferrer, director of the Department of Public Health, said she wanted to be “realistic” about implementation.
“There are 31,000 restaurants in LA County, and our team, as hard as they work, gets about 300 a week,” Dr. Ferrer said.
He pointed out that there are many examples in the social media of restaurants not complying with social distance guidelines and that roughly 19 per cent of restaurants surveyed by their office were found not to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.
Ferrer pointed out that there is an “inherent risk” in restaurants because customers don’t always wear a mask and often gather with members of other households while eating, even though they “know” the frustrations felt by employees, business owners, and canteens.
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Both Barger and Hahn proposed to annul the decision of the Department of Public Health, but it failed by 2-3 votes.
Superintendent Hilda Solis, who opposed the annulment of the order, said she “agrees with what our health officials are telling us”, although she is “not indifferent” to the economic issues of restaurants. Superintendent Sheila Kuehl agreed with Solis, adding that she had heard from workers ’advocacy groups who were pleased with the decision to close the personal meal. Although these groups were “concerned about workers’ incomes, ”they would be“ better protected. They were worried about things like approaching the tables without masks.
In an interview with FOX Business following the discussion, Barger said the Department of Public Health, citing the CDC study instead of presenting specific evidence, was “irresponsible.”
“Because [Dr. Davis] to say that they depend on the CDC when we did this for seven months and actually did checks that we don’t have data on, yet we’re targeting an industry and we’re going to target rising cases [restaurants] irresponsible to me.“
He added that the board’s decision “talks a lot about the fact that the government is now growing too much, as it refers to the fact that the public has not really been gathered.”
“I would say it’s important for people to be involved in governance and to hold government officials accountable.” “And if the data don’t support science, they should question it. I think we’ve become a society that allows the government to dictate what we’re doing without questioning. And I tell you, like you’re in government, but it is also very concerned with the private sector, question the government, do not assume that what they say is always right. “
Barger also said he thought public health panicked when county counts began to rise and that the order was simply a “kneeling reaction to something that has no scientific background to prove we’re going to slow the spread.”
“If anything, we basically put one last nail into these restaurant coffins,” he added.
While frustrated with the result, Barger said he knows he did the right thing to undo the order and fight for an industry that is “unfairly targeted and subjected to truly unfair practices.”
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The decision came after the Restaurant Association on Tuesday in a lawsuit asking for a court order to suspend the ban on outdoor dining.
Hahn, who was also disappointed with the outcome, stressed the need for federal financial intervention.
“It kills me to think that at this point, a few weeks before the holidays, we’re considering an order to force the restaurants to close permanently. We know they’re going to fire their employees if they’re limited to take-off and sidewalk.” he said. “I really don’t think I want to do this … We’re on another economically tragic path.”
The Los Angeles Economic Development Association has predicted that about 700,000 jobs in the food industry will be lost when the county is shut down, and 75% of the projected jobs will affect people earning $ 50,000 or less.
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