LA restaurant owners push against dining ban

Natalie Luna

Just weeks ago, you could order enjoy your favorite pork belly eggs benedict from Joe’s Cafe or grab some crepes from R Coffee House or maybe you were in the mood for some fresh pasta from Presto Pasta. Now, you’ll have to take your favorite dishes to go as The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has enforced yet another three-week ban on both indoor and outdoor dining due to the continuous surge of COVID hospitalizations and positive cases. 

Many local restaurant owners met this ban with anger and desperation in fear that their businesses may not survive this pandemic. 

“Health experts have made clear that this step is necessary right now in order to save more lives and keep hospitals from overflowing with patients, I urge every Angeleno to heed it now so that we can keep our communities safe and open more of our businesses again as quickly as possible,” Garectti said to The Los Angeles Times.

This prompted a response from the California Restaurant Association (CRA) and restaurant-owning attorney Mark Geragos, who challenged and pushed against the ban in the Los Angeles Superior Court. 

“The recent order with no stated scientific basis from L.A. County singles out a specific industry and could jeopardize thousands of jobs. Thousands of restaurants and employees who could be out on the street right before the holiday season,” Jot Condie, CEO of the CRA , said in a statement when he announced the lawsuit last week. 

Numerous restaurant owners are arguing in the civil lawsuit that there is no evidence or study that outdoor dining specifically creates risk and increases the spread of the virus. 

 “Restaurants have worked very hard to reduce the spread of the virus by following the mandates of the governmental health officials, and through these efforts, the county of Los Angeles’s own data shows that restaurants are not the cause of the recent increase in transmissions,”  CRA attorney, Dennis Ellis, said in a statement. 

This ban on outdoor dining has sparked large backlash from restaurant owners and workers that are frustrated with the unemployment support they are receiving. This ban becomes stricter than the previous ban on indoor dining. So now L.A county’s restaurants, bars, and breweries will have to rely solely on delivery, takeout and drive-thru services for at least the next three weeks. 

Los Angeles County is offering a one time $800 amount to thousands of restaurant and food service workers that are impacted by the pandemic closures, Mayor Garcetti announced to the public Wednesday. 

At this point, many restaurant owners are losing faith after the last eight months of their businesses closing due to rising COVID cases during this pandemic. The County’s indoor dining restriction is scheduled to remain in effect until roughly December 16 or longer if needed.