On Tuesday, amid a lot of controversy, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors held heated debates over a public health officials ordinance that closes the outdoor meal from Wednesday.
On Sunday, after the county’s five-day average first exceeded 4,000 cases, county officials announced that restaurants, wineries and breweries would stop personal meals (including outdoor sessions) for at least three weeks. It starts tomorrow at 10 p.m. While such public places may still only operate for reception, propulsion, and / or transportation, LA County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said the county found several Los Angeles restaurants that violated Covid-19 restrictions, mostly adequate. social distance.
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The county’s five-day average averaged 4,266 on Tuesday.
Kathryn Barger, chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, strongly opposed the restaurant’s closure at Tuesday’s meeting, calling it one of many “increasingly incredibly stringent measures”.
“I feel that what is happening today will really destroy our workers,” she continued, “and that it is not based on data. “
This last remark posed a challenge to public health officials, who were unable to provide county data at the time of their interrogation that proved that outdoor meals had spread the virus. LA public health official Dr. Muntu Davis said the best data on restaurants came from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which reported that infected Americans were twice as likely to have lunch as those who were not infected.
Davis added that restaurants are the only place where people can get together without masks. “You can’t wear your face while you drink,” he said. Superintendent Sheila Kuehl agreed with this statement.
Earlier this morning, the California Restaurant Association applied to the Los Angeles Supreme Court for a court order banning the suspension of outdoor meals, but this was rejected by a judge.
Barger and Hahn asked their colleagues at the last minute to rethink the plan. At the suggestion of Superintendent Mark Ridley-Thomas and based on a pending lawsuit by restaurant owners, the board went to a closed meeting to discuss and obtain legal consent. Upon his return, the panel rejected the motion. That means the ban is scheduled to take effect tomorrow night.
In a statement, Ridley-Thomas said: “The Board of Supervisors today reaffirmed the Health Officer’s recommendation to close outdoor meals in light of the alarming new proportions of new Covid-19 cases.
“These decisions were not made easily. We are aware of the compromise that Angelenos is forced to make to protect the health and safety of himself and his loved ones. Unfortunately, as we try to balance the public health and economic health of our region, there is no win-win outcome. Every decision has its drawbacks. “
Barger cited estimates by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation that some 700,000 food jobs could be lost, and 75% of those losses earn $ 50,000 or less a year.
“The measures proposed by the Department of Public Health will further destroy local businesses and employees who have been asked to bear an unfair burden this year,” Barger said in a statement.
According to Barger, only 10–15% of positive Covid-19 cases are related to having dinner with people who test positive, while more than half are related to private gatherings. Closing outdoor dining – where high adherence to health orders – could also have the unintended consequence of encouraging private meetings, he said.
The data show that the surge in cases does not stem from dinner, but from large social gatherings. Businesses have already made incredible sacrifices to comply with security protocols to stay open to pay their bills and feed their families. More information: https://t.co/MzSHKVLWvD pic.twitter.com/QBXUD7Q0NW
– Superintendent Kathryn Barger (@kathrynbarger) November 23, 2020
“Businesses have made incredible sacrifices to comply with security protocols to stay open to pay their bills and feed their families,” Barger said. “The increased number of cases is not due to the reopening of businesses, but to large gatherings where people don’t wear masks. We are not helpless in slowing the spread of Covid-19 and can protect ourselves and our neighbors by maintaining physical distance and wearing face masks. “
Barger set off on Fox 11 in Los Angeles on Monday night to express his concerns, saying, “Closing an industry based on no science does not affect me … I feel arbitrary and punitive.”
.@kathrynbarger against Dr. Barbara Ferrer’s proposal to shut down restaurants in person from Wednesday.
“Closing an industry based on any kind of science doesn’t affect me … I feel arbitrary and punitive.”
READ MORE: https://t.co/EHuWKU6XI0 pic.twitter.com/ePFYzCBlWa
– Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) November 24, 2020
Monday’s edition of Ferrer’s office seemed to focus on Barger’s arguments. In part, it sounded like this:
In just two weeks, between October 31 and November 14, we found that epidemics in food establishments increased by more than 200%. Food facilities include restaurants, bottling plants, food processing facilities, grocery stores, and other food-related businesses in the county.
Over the same period, the outbreak increased by 67% in general workspaces, which include many other workspaces, including warehouses, basic office workspaces, retailers, and manufacturing facilities.
Another board member, Hahn, voiced concern about Sunday’s personal eating ban. “While I know the number of cases is growing rapidly, I would rather have openly discussed this measure at a board meeting so that the public understands the underlying rationale,” he wrote on his Twitter page. – Some of these restaurants barely hang. I hope this is not the last nail in their coffin. I wish we could have figured out how to introduce more restrictions instead of stopping the meal altogether. “
I am worried about the workers and small businesses who bear the downtime.
If you share my concern, I ask you not to gather with people outside your household.
Workers and businesses need us to reverse this.
– Janice Hahn (@SupJaniceHahn) November 24, 2020
Some of these restaurants barely hang. I hope this is not the last nail in their coffin. I wish we could have figured out how to introduce more restrictions instead of stopping the meal altogether.
– Janice Hahn (@SupJaniceHahn) November 23, 2020
Ferrer insisted at Monday’s press conference that the board was fully informed of the planned restrictions last week, including the end of the personal meal, and the county publicly announced the plans in a press release issued last week.
Superintendent Sheila Kuehl echoed that feeling, telling the City News Service that the board was in full agreement on the ban last Tuesday.
“We all agreed,” Kuehl said. “So I was surprised to hear that Kathryn.” [Barger] he undertook to express his opposition individually. I don’t see any support for this position anywhere, and of course I don’t. “
“Outdoor meals are probably more dangerous for infection than any other business,” Kuehl said Monday.
He said the restaurants in the restaurants “sit for hours without masks” and are in close proximity to the servers and patrons who walk there.
As new COVID-19 cases continue to be at an alarming rate and the number of hospital people continues to grow, the LA County Health Officials Ordinance will be amended to restrict catering to restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 25th. . afternoon pic.twitter.com/SQo08dF63A
– Los Angeles County (@CountyofLA) November 22, 2020
The vast majority of the public comments at the meeting were about the order in which personal meals were discontinued.
Restaurant owners and officials in Redondo Beach, Glendale, Santa Clarita, La Verne, Covina, Pasadena and other localities have considered increased restaurant restrictions. In general, they urged rethinking and focus more on preventing smaller and larger gatherings, the maintenance of which was the primary reason for the surge.
A member of the LA Chamber of Commerce said, “These restrictions create an unsustainable situation for our businesses … We encourage you to rethink these guidelines.”
On Friday, the county introduced other restrictions that generally limited retail capacity and restricted outdoor gatherings.
California imposed a soft curfew on Saturday night, preventing “irrelevant work, movement, and gatherings” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., continuing into the night until the morning of Dec. 21.
The City News Service contributed to this report.